Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Higher Education Leadership

First Advisor

Nathaniel Cradit



The online program management (OPM) industry is a multibillion-dollar business that works with the higher education industry. Once primarily a tuition revenue share model that marketed and enrolled new programs for institutions, the OPM business is evolving. Fee-for-service payments and services such as coaching and instructional design are now part of the OPM landscape. Although higher education institutions are spending billions of dollars, there has been very little academic research into this phenomenon. This study examines the satisfaction of higher education institutions with OPM providers. This quantitative study utilizes Oliver’s expectation confirmation theory to understand why institutions may be satisfied with their OPM provider. The survey brings in responses from a variety of Carnegie institutional types and various positions within institutions to understand which variables related to the institution may impact satisfaction with an OPM provider. Analog analysis includes comparing the rise and impact of the OPM industry model with the for-profit industry. Implications for OPM providers and higher education leaders are discussed to further both sides’ understanding of this outsourcing relationship. This research furthers the study of the outsourcing relationship between higher education institutions and OPM providers and pushes the OPM industry to remove its veil of secrecy.