Hindsight from 2020: Noodle Partners 2019 year in review

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Company continues rapid growth in scale and expansion

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“Beyond our incredible accomplishments this year— graduations, signing great universities, growing our programs— we’ve seen a real strengthening of the networks that form within and between our partnerships,” said John Katzman, CEO of Noodle Partners.

Noodle Partners, the fastest-growing online program manager, entered 2020 with momentum following two strong years of unprecedented partnership and program growth. For the team of online higher education veterans, 2019 was a year of expansion and maturation as the company approached 20 university partners, welcomed two inaugural cohort graduations and announced large-scale expansions with multiple high-profile partner universities.

Since its first university partnership kicked off in 2017, Noodle Partners has maintained a commitment to redefining university-OPM relationships with a more flexible, transparent approach. Now three years into its first few programs, the company has demonstrated that its model resonates loudly with academia.

“Beyond our incredible accomplishments this year— graduations, signing great universities, growing our programs— we’ve seen a real strengthening of the networks that form within and between our partnerships,” Noodle Partners CEO John Katzman said. “Our programs, university partners and employees are learning from each other and outpacing the industry benchmark. 2020 is going to be incredible.”

"We’ve seen real success this year and are eager to see what 2020 has in store for our university partners, our evolving model and ourselves,” Noodle Partners CFO Meredith Ruble said. “Financially, our focus on cost-savings through network-effects is paying off for us and our university partners.”

Two Noodle Partners-run programs, one at Tulane University School of Social Work and one at American University School of Education, graduated their inaugural online cohorts with nearly 100 total students receiving diplomas. Thousands more online students within the Noodle Partners network are expected to graduate through 2022.

“Our first graduating class represents the power of access and equity for all. We are excited about their future and the impact they will make in their communities and beyond,” AU School of Education Assistant Dean Julie Sara Boyd said.

Noodle Partners entered 2019 with more than a dozen existing partnerships, including the University of Virginia, Tulane University, the University of Michigan and the University of Tennessee— all four of which chose to expand online with additional Noodle Partners programs in 2019. UVA added programs including a Noodle Partners x General Assembly coding bootcamp; Tulane continued to grow online with 2 additional programs (totalling 6 programs with Noodle Partners); the University of Michigan and the University of Tennessee both signed on for one more program.

Yet another signal of success for the online program manager is their expansion into new graduate degree verticals: in 2019, Noodle Partners signed or launched programs in Health Informatics (University of Pittsburgh), Nursing (University of Michigan), Computer Science and Engineering (Tufts), and Homeland Security (Virginia Commonwealth University).

“We were fortunate to find a partner vendor that agreed with [our] vision and aligned with our goals. Noodle Partners has worked closely with us to keep costs down and quality high,” Laurie Cochenour, director of Online Learning at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences told Inside Higher Ed in July. “Our program faculty, who are highly respected in the field, were excited to embrace this opportunity.”

Beyond Masters level programs, Noodle Partners also signed two undergraduate degree completion programs along with their first two Doctoral level programs (one at American and one at Tulane).

Six new university partners signed on with Noodle Partners in 2019, including Tufts University, the University of Pittsburgh and University of Tulsa. Alongside their partnership growth, the Noodle Partners team doubled in size in 2019, and now includes close to 200 staff members.

About Noodle Partners
Founded by a team of education and technology veterans, Noodle Partners creates innovative online and hybrid programs while improving traditional classroom models. Noodle Partners has the capability to work with universities on every aspect of building a certificate or degree program that they choose—marketing, student recruitment, enrollment, curriculum design, student engagement, support services, graduate placement, and alumni engagement—and provides a high level of fit and finish. For more information, visit noodle-partners.com or follow us on Twitter @Noodle_Partners or LinkedIn.

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Alyssa Miller
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