Financing the Verified Course Certificates Program Is Not Sustainable, edX Says


EdX’s financial aid program which allows disadvantaged students to receive a 90-percent on verified course certificates “is not sustainable”, Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, has said to The Harvard Crimson.

“Right now we are funding it out of donor dollars. Our hope is that we get philanthropic contributions to help with our financial program,” he added.

While course enrollment is free, each verified certificate costs $50 to $100. Since December, students have the option of applying for financial assistance by submitting an application that is evaluated “holistically” by an edX support team. In the application, users must report an annual household income and write short essays about their financial situations, learning goals, and career aspirations.

“We just started the program four months ago and have been getting several hundred applications a week.”

Although edX and its partner universities have supported the idea of financial aid, Agarwal said the program is “complicated to administer,” especially given that it is funded by in-house dollars at a non-profit organization.