Pearson (PSO) is positioning itself well within the online education market, as traditional education continues to move towards a digital service.
The largest educational publisher in the world saw a total enrollment in its online higher education segment increase 24% year-over-year to 134,000 in the first half of 2015. The reason? A partnership between Pearson, Arizona State University and Starbucks (SBUX) . The company saw strong growth within its ASU Online program, as its known. And a key component to this increase was the strategic partnership between ASU and Starbucks where the coffee chain agreed to cover 100% of online tuition for qualified employees to ASU Online.
The Starbucks tuition reimbursement plan has been expanded to over 140,000 full and part-time employees. This powerful connection will provide growth to ASU online enrollment for years to come. With Pearson operating as a provider and manager of the online platform, the company will benefit from the growing online higher education segment.
Pearson stock has struggled this year, experiencing nearly a 40% decline within the last three months. The stock is currently at 52-week low levels. Pearson's restructuring with an increased focus in the digital education technology sector positions the company well for the long term in the evolving education industry.PSO data by YCharts
In 2013, Pearson made strategic shift in attempt to increase the company's presence within the education technology sector. This was a critical move for the educational giant, diversifying itself away from print publishing, a main source of the company's revenue. To narrow the company's focus in the digital education space, 2015 saw Pearson sell several of its holdings, including the Financial Times, Economist and Power School, for a proceeds of $2.3 billion.