In a bid to mitigate campus closures and education disruption due to coronavirus, Strategic Education, Inc. (STRA - Free Report) or SEI announced to offer free courses online to universities, school districts, employers and the general public. With the help of its subsidiary — Sophia Learning online education platform — SEI aims to offer students affordable and flexible education system to explore potential new career avenues with various professional development courses.
All the education courses available on Sophia Learning platform are recommended by American Council on Education (“ACE”) and are transferrable to various higher education institutions for course credit.
Notably, the company’s effort to provide hurdle free education system to students, who aspire to complete their courses as planned, is commendable. Executive director of Sophia Learning, Grant Schmalzer, stated, "Our focus is to support students as they navigate this unprecedented time and find ways to continue their education."
Along with free online courses, the company is increasing engagement with its United Negro College Fund (“UNCF”) partners to ensure that more than two dozen historically black colleges and universities (“HBCUs”) can have access to the platform. Over the past several years, SEI and UNCF have been partnering to provide educational opportunities to the HBCUs and students. Meanwhile, students, whose college plans are being disrupted by this health crisis, will be able to pursue their studies and graduate timely.
COVID-19 Outbreak: An Opportunity for Online Educators
The novel coronavirus outbreak has turned the global education system into a great opportunity for those who want flexibility as well as safety. Apart from SEI, Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (UTI - Free Report) also announced that it will move to online instruction next week. Also, it has suspended all in-person classes at its 13 campuses throughout the nation from Mar 19.
Moreover, online education providers like Chegg, Inc. (CHGG - Free Report) and New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (EDU - Free Report) can benefit from the pandemic. Per the circular passed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the discontinuation of schools will prevent the spread of disease.
Per UNESCO’s report, 85 countries imposed nationwide school and university shutdowns, which are affecting more than 776.7 million students. Notably, it is updating a list of digital education tools, including digital learning management systems, apps designed for smart featurephones and software with a strong offline component.
We believe that the pandemic will be a boon for SEI and other industry players amid disruptions. Shares of the company have outpaced the Zacks Schools industry as well as S&P 500 composite.
SEI currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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