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UW–Madison partners with InStride to expand access to education

June 11, 2020 By Michael Whitley and Lisa Bauer

The University of Wisconsin–Madison announces a partnership with InStride, a global network of high-quality academic institutions, to help offer employees of large companies the life-changing benefits of a UW­–Madison degree.

The new partnership enables UW–Madison Online to offer online education directly to workers through large employers. InStride will start by connecting its national and international corporate partners and their employees to the new UW–Madison Online Bachelor of Science in Personal Finance, enabling the university to reach a broader pool of prospective students.

“UW-Madison has a long history of working with companies large and small in ways that benefit students and the people of Wisconsin,” says UW–Madison Provost John Karl Scholz. “This new partnership with InStride promises to uphold our high academic standards while making it possible for more people to advance their careers.”

In February 2020, UW–Madison Online launched the university’s first fully online bachelor’s degree in personal finance for students who can’t attend in person and want to balance work, family or other obligations. More online bachelor’s degrees in various areas will be offered in the coming years.

InStride, a public benefit company launched in 2019, has a growing academic network—primarily R1 institutions—and includes U.S. colleges and universities, such as Arizona State University (ASU), Harvard Business School Online, The City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Washington Continuum College, as well as other high-quality institutions around the world. InStride’s focus is on partnerships with industry-leading companies such as Aramark, Discount Tire, InfoSys, and more than 20 others who understand the social and business impact of investing in their employees’ education. UW–Madison and InStride are developing strategies to engage business partners inside and outside of the state of Wisconsin.

“We continue to build a quality academic network that can bring online degrees and credentials to our corporate partners’ employees, helping them and their companies succeed and grow,” said Vivek Sharma, CEO of InStride. “Given the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s prominence as one of the nation’s premier academic institutions, we are excited to partner with them to deliver on this mission.”

Chancellor Rebecca Blank adds, “Online education will only continue to grow, and this pilot program with InStride will continue to accelerate that expansion at UW–Madison so that we can expand access to the university throughout the state and beyond. This is a winning partnership that will better serve our students and our communities.”

“This new partnership is all about growing relationships,” says Vice Chancellor for University Relations Charles Hoslet. “We anticipate that expanding our network of corporate relationships via InStride will lead to additional opportunities for engagement, such as talent recruitment and sponsored research. We also expect to gain valuable market insights that will help us refine current offerings and create new market-driven programs.”

InStride was founded as a result of ASU’s business development efforts, notably including a partnership with Starbucks which currently has more than 16,000 partners participating in the program and more than 4,500 graduates.