About Outlier

Welcome! We are happy that you want to learn more about Outlier. Read this article to find out who we are, our institution, the future of Outlier, and the greatest bonus ever!


Who We Are

Outlier has partnered with the University of Pittsburgh—a top 60 university—to develop high-quality, university-level courses taught online by some of the most celebrated educators in their respective fields.

Outlier is not a university.


Outlier is a For-Profit Institution

Summary: We are for-profit because we believe it is the faster and most sustainable way to make the biggest social impact.

While Outlier’s sole founding vision is to drive massive social impact by tackling education accessibility and student debt, we are a for-profit, venture-backed company. This is by design: while founding Outlier, after a ton of research and discussions with foundations, it became clear to our team that developing a market-based solution (rather than relying on charity) to increase educational access is a faster and more durable solution for an urgent and tenacious social problem.

For organizations focused on improving education, self-sufficiency matters. Here’s one big reason: non-profit donations tend to dry up during economic downturns, which is precisely when society needs to increase access to education to invest in a more prosperous future.

That said, we must acknowledge that in the world of higher-ed, the term “for-profit” carries additional baggage: many “For-profit Colleges” of yesteryear took advantage of their students with little regard for their actual education and success. This was a dark chapter in the history of higher-ed and very much contributed to the problem we’re working so hard to solve.

Outlier’s goal is student-centric and aimed at providing access, not profit, and solving such a massive societal problem will certainly generate plenty of value.

You can see this ethos in action in initiatives like Outlier’s purposefully low pricing and unprecedented-in-higher-education refund policy: our courses are free if a student does all the work and still doesn’t pass—that’s our failure, and students shouldn’t pay for that. We’re putting our money where our mouth is.

When you are curious about an organization’s intentions, whether for-profit or non-profit, the easiest way to see their intentions is by their actions. We invite you to judge us by our actions.


The Future of Outlier

The Outlier team is working hard to bring more excellently curated and accredited college courses your way. Learn more about how Outlier's courses are powering the Degrees+ program through Golden Gate University. 

We hope to offer even more options for making higher education more accessible in the future!

Sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of Outlier.org for updates on new classes.

Sign Up Now, Access Outlier Forever! (The GREATEST Bonus Ever)

When you purchase an Outlier course, you will have access to video lectures from world experts, in-depth active learning, and practice problem sets indefinitely to improve your knowledge in the subject matter through self-study.

Quizzes will lock after the course ends.

If you choose to drop the course for any reason, you will lose access to the course materials.

Go to this article to learn how to enroll in your first course!

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