Weekly Market Update


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Southern New Hampshire University has acquired Chicago-based nonprofit LRNG, which specializes in gamifying learning with "digital badges". The university hopes to use LRNG's digital badge model to reach students early -- even in middle school -- and acquaint them with SNHU's competency-based degree program, College for America, which provides credential-focused associate and bachelor's degrees. SHNU and LRNG will initially focus their joint efforts on Chicago and Birmingham, and is working with local libraries to provide a physical location to complement its digital coursework.

In Other News

  • In response to competition from online retailers such as Amazon, the Middlebury College bookstore replaced textbooks on its shelves with school-branded merchandise, and made textbooks available through online retailer MBS Textbook Exchange. However, professors and faculty members are asking for books to be returned to the bricks and mortar bookstore, saying they often need to provide students printed materials as a stopgap measure until textbooks ordered online arrive.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Deerfield Management have entered into a partnership to create Pinnacle Hill, LLC, an investment firm focused on health care. Deerfield has promised $65 million toward the effort, as well as its own expertise in drug development.
  • New Mexico State University now offers its students on-campus concierge services, with amenities including laundry service, moving assistance, and vacation planning. The Crimson Concierge Program is part of an attempt to compete with "other institutions with flashier offerings." The service is provided by food service and facilities management provider, Sodexo.
  • James Gatto, Christian Dawkins, and Merl Code were all found guilty on felony charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They were accused of providing top recruits' families with illicit payments sourced from Adidas, hoping to lure recruits to Adidas-sponsored schools, including Kansas, Louisville, and NC State.
  • The new president of the University of Virginia, Jim Ryan, has promised free tuition for students of families earning less than $80,000 a year. Ryan also pledged that students from Virginia families earning less than $30,000 will get free tuition as well as free room and board. He did not give a precise timetable, saying "there is more work to be done, but we might as well get started."
  • President Donald Trump renewed his attack on the Federal Reserve on Tuesday, accusing his own appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, of endangering the nation's economic growth by raising interest rates. "It almost looks like he's happy raising interest rates," said Trump in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
  • A proposal to increase the minimum wage for homecare workers and nonprofit employees working under San Francisco city contracts was approved Tuesday. Starting July 1, 2019, the nonprofit workers' minimum wage will increase by $1.50 to $16.50, while home health care workers will see increases in phases, reaching $18.75 by July 1, 2022.