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Online learning is becoming top priority at American universities, now that a growing number are conceding to the idea/possibility that their campuses will remain closed for part of the 2020/2021 school year. This represents a game changer for online education. A handful of educational technology “EdTech”) companies are poised to reap the rewards.

Related Stocks: Chegg Inc. (CHGG), 2U Inc. (TWOU), K12 Inc. (LRN)

Business has never been better for facilitators of online learning.

A report from UNESCO says more than 1 billion students globally have been prevented from attending schools, colleges and universities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students that stayed home had to rely on streamed lectures & seminars, animations, and online tests to continue their education. Now, with a new school year on the horizon, decisions are being made about how to proceed given that the pandemic is still raging in parts of the world.

When we covered this topic back in February, our main focus was on Chinese EdTech. Today’s report is all about the U.S. market.

A recent Ipsos/USA Today poll found that 20% of teachers are unlikely to go back to school if their classrooms reopen in the fall. A separate survey of parents, with at least one child in K-12, say 30% are very likely to opt for at-home learning. For U.S. online education, this may well be a game changer.

Online for-profit colleges have been seizing this opportunity to increase enrollment. Some, like Capella University and Strayer University, are even promising would-be transfer students that they can earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as a year, and from the safety of the student’s home. According to the New York Times, these colleges often have substantial cash reserves that they can pump into tuition discounts and marketing at a time when public universities and nonprofit colleges are seeing their budgets disintegrate.

The strategy could pay off. Most students in America take on extraordinary debt because colleges continue to raise their prices every step of the way. But online-only degrees are, on average, 40% the cost of a full-time in-person degree…

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