- Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a new educational nonprofit using the funds from the 2021 sale of their online education platform.
- Formerly called the Center for Reimagining Learning, the Axim Collaborative will focus on improving educational outcomes and employment pathways for underserved students.
- The new venture aims to address systemic issues in education and the workforce and hopes to capitalize on Harvard and MIT's long-standing relationships with other colleges, according to Harvard.
In the first phase of its student success research and programming, the Axim Collaborative will concentrate on improving degree and credential completion rates and post-graduation employment outcomes for systemically underserved students, the nonprofit said in a press release.
"It is these learners for whom the economic mobility that comes with education remains out of reach," it said.
Stephanie Khurana will lead the group as CEO. She is the former chief operating officer of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and has held several positions at Harvard, including on the university's public service committee.
Funding for the Axim Collaborative comes from the $800 million sale of MIT and Harvard's online-learning platform edX to 2U, an online program management for-profit, or OPM.
At the time, Alan Garber, Harvard provost and co-chair of the edX board of directors, said the new ownership would "enable the mission of edX — including access to low-cost and free courses to meet the needs of diverse learners — to be carried out with continued innovation at a greater scale."
And shortly after edX's sale, Harvard's president, Lawrence Bacow, portended Axim by announcing the proceeds would be used to fund a new nonprofit.
But critics lambasted the decision to sell edX, which had branded itself as a nonprofit with philanthropic goals, to a private OPM. Much of the OPM market has been scrutinized for its business practices and a lack of transparency.