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Organizational and Strategic Benchmarks for Professional, Continuing, and Online Education Leaders

Participate in one of the largest benchmarking initiatives within professional, continuing, and online education to identify critical gaps in resourcing relative to your peers and potential opportunities to unlock growth.

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Professional, continuing, and online education leaders face increasingly ambitious goals with little room for error, requiring reliable, comprehensive inputs for their decision-making. Since 2012 EAB has risen to the challenge with our organizational and strategic advising, powered by the Organizational and Strategic Benchmarks for PCO Leaders dataset.

More than a decade of partner feedback has informed the development of our new PCO measurement framework, providing comparative data across four dimensions and various attributes (e.g., funnel metrics, marketing spend, student support).

EAB’s proprietary dataset gives our partners the decision support and confidence they need to make smarter growth bets while saving time. We help our partners understand which functions are essential to success, how to “level-up” their performance, and how to invest in a reserve fund.

Learn more about EAB’s benchmarking initiative for PCO leaders in the following sections:

Ready to participate? The next survey will launch in early fall 2024. Contact your Strategic Leader or [email protected] for more information.


Demographic, economic pressures and new technologies create PCO growth opportunities

While habitually the innovators and entrepreneurs in higher education, PCO leaders face particular challenges but also opportunities today. Institutional leadership are increasingly turning to adult, graduate, and professional audiences while first-time, first-year student populations decline due to both demographics and nonconsumption trends.

At the same time, populations ideal for PCO programs are experiencing high need for education, whether completing their original degrees or advancing their education to meet newer needs. These factors create significant opportunity for growth if PCO leaders and organizations can seize it.

  • Schools in search of new revenue sources: -10% projected decline in first-time first-year college-going population from 2025-2035 (Nathan Graw)
  • Communities in need of adult education: 40.4M population of “some college, no degree” Americans (National Student Clearinghouse)
  • Workforce in need of upskilling: 44% of workers’ skills anticipated to be disrupted by 2028 (World Economic Forum)

Our 2023 re-launch

We’ve learned a lot since originally launching in 2012 and have redesigned the experience to focus on today’s most pressing challenges—from how much it costs to recruit in highly competitive markets to what roles are essential to bring OPM functions back in-house.

The Organization and Strategic Benchmarks for PCO Leaders initiative is offered annually—enabling you to constantly calibrate your resourcing and growth bets.

Enhancements for 2023 and beyond:

  • More comprehensive data collection
  • Updated topics of interest
  • Richer data analytics possible
  • Reconceived maturity curve for today’s ambitions
  • Improved user experience

We’re finding that many of the models for distributing revenue back to the deans and departments are based on historical and sometimes antiquated policies. EAB’s data helped us rethink the potential of strategically making funds available for new programs and re-launched programs.


Associate Provost and Director of Continuing Studies

Large Public Research Institution

Data collection and benchmarking survey

Data collection encompasses four topics:

  • Annual outcomes
  • Operations
  • Programs and student services
  • Marketing

This first year, partners will submit for all four topics and receive customized benchmarking for all. In following years, partners will be asked to submit their annual outcomes as well as one other topic, with those on a three-year rotation.

Resources and support

Need help? Email us at [email protected].