Furthering the edX Mission, Forging a Future Path

In 2012, edX was founded as a non-profit with the mission to increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere. During the past six years we’ve built a community of 16 million learners, who have taken high-quality edX courses offered by more than 130 global academic and corporate partners.

We have also built a community of another 18 million learners, who have taken courses through Open edX sites. Open edX is the open source platform that powers edX.org that we have made freely available to educators and technologists around the world.

Thank you for being part of this incredible community! Whether you’ve been with us since the start, or you’re just now starting your first edX course, you, our learners, are what truly makes our learning platform a powerful force for change and what drives our work to constantly innovate and improve education throughout the world.

What we’ve accomplished so far

Together, we have pioneered innovative initiatives like MicroMasters programs, which are bridging the gap between academia and the corporate world in a groundbreaking way, and we have pushed the boundaries of making world-class education accessible and affordable. You have shared your stories with us of how taking the courses and programs offered by our partners have helped to transform your lives and advance your careers.

Because of you, the edX mission has transformed from a statement into a movement.

What we must accomplish moving forward

We are committed to continuing to provide content that has this life-changing potential for learners. For edX to continue to drive its mission forward, and to keep growing the movement that we created together, we need to do two things.  

First, we need to continue to invest in our platform to deliver exceptional learning experiences for our users around the globe.  

Second, we need to enable our partners, who remain focused on our shared mission to increase access to education for everyone, everywhere, to continue to invest in building and supporting high-quality educational content and academic experiences.

How will we accomplish this?

In order for edX and our partners to continue making these investments, we must evolve and experiment around the way we offer content. As a non-profit, our financial focus is to become self-sustaining. It is not to make as much money as we can, but to generate enough money to continue to pursue our mission.

We believe that we need to move toward a financial model that allows edX and our partners to achieve sustainability and we acknowledge that means moving away from our current model of offering virtually everything for free.

As we acknowledge the need for change, we also reaffirm our commitment to maintaining a portion of our catalog as free. We believe it is part of our mission to democratize higher education and to increase access to affordable education on a global scale.

What has changed?

Today, we’re starting to test the introduction of a modest support fee in some of our courses. The support fee will enable edX and partners to continue to invest in our global learning platform.

As always, you will have the option to pay to upgrade to a verified certificate at any point before the course’s verified deadline. And, as always, financial assistance will be abundant and easily accessible for learners who need it.

Why has this changed?

We think it’s important that we tell you about this change, but we think it’s most important that we share this blog post so that you can understand why we are changing.

We are making changes so that we can determine the best way for our partners and edX to continue to innovate and deliver affordable access to high-quality education in a way that will lead to sustainability. Like any company growing and evolving, testing new things will continue to be part of this process.

What’s next?

We want to be open and transparent with you, as we begin this journey to identify how we can deliver content in a way that successfully strikes the balance of providing affordable access while also ensuring that edX and our partners have the necessary resources to further our shared mission.

Moving forward, we will continue to test ways that we can provide affordable access in order to ensure that edX and our partners have the necessary resources to continue to offer high-quality content, further develop features that improve the learning experience, continue to improve and offer our Open Edx software platform for free to anyone in the world that wants to use it,  and continue to collaborate with our partners to invest in research that positively impacts the future of online learning.