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Exclusive: With 2U, WeWork is becoming a global campus for adult learners

Exclusive: With 2U, WeWork is becoming a global campus for adult learners
[Photo: courtesy of WeWork]

Sure beats the library.

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Since WeWork teamed up with online education company 2U last year, more than 1,000 students enrolled in 2U-managed graduate programs have taken advantage of the coworking giant’s hot desks, communal meeting spaces, and free-flowing coffee. According to 2U CEO Chip Paucek, usage is increasing every week, with 10,000 2U students signed up for WeWork access.

Now, 2U is expanding the partnership to include over 2,000 of its faculty members and course administrators, who hail from universities including Georgetown, Rice, and Yale.

“The whole idea [of 2U] is to unleash school from physical boundaries. But people do want to have community and get together,” says Paucek. “We thought it was a no-brainer to increase the value of what we provide to the students and the faculty.”

Prior to the partnership, a handful of 2U students were already using WeWork locations—of their own initiative—to study, attend class, meet with peers, and take exams. Those activities can now take place at 2U’s expense in WeWork locations worldwide (2U declined to discuss the specifics of the contract).

2U, which went public in 2014 after raising $96 million in venture capital, runs online degree and certificate programs for universities in areas such as business, nursing, and social work. As part of its initial deal with WeWork, 2U agreed to set aside $5 million for WeWork community member and employee scholarships and pay $14.5 million to license technology developed by Flatiron School, a WeWork subsidiary known for its coding bootcamp.

For WeWork, the presence of graduate students at its 425 global campuses reinforces the company’s all-encompassing ambition to become the place where a community of professionals can live, work, and learn. “Young” professionals are welcome, too: WeGrow, WeWork’s in-house school, starts at age 2.

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