I wish you had a subscription to the Los Angeles Times so you could read this article in full. If you do, you should.

The University of Southern California had one of the nation’s best graduate social work programs. In search of more revenue, it made a deal with an East Coast digital startup to establish an online degree in social work, and enrollment ballooned from 900 in 2010 to 3,500 in 2016. The university saved on the cost of dorms and classrooms.

The money was rolling in, but the big beneficiary was the tech company, which kept more than half the revenue and is now valued at more than $2 billion. USC’s once prestigious social work school has lowered its standards to admit students who would not have qualified in the past; its reputation has suffered; and it is “facing a budget crisis so severe that nearly half of the staff may lose their jobs.”

Maryland-based corporation 2U Inc. now services universities around the country and abroad, but it relies on USC for about a fifth of its revenue.

Industry analysts have pressed 2U executives repeatedly about the unfolding situation at the social work school, and the company lowered revenue forecasts last fall, citing in part instability at the Los Angeles university…

Part-time teaching positions are being largely eliminated and professors required to shoulder significantly heavier course loads. A university committee has recommended laying off up to 45% of the non-teaching staff….

2U takes a 60% cut of online tuition from the social work program, and the contract carries onerous penalties if USC breaks the arrangement. People familiar with the agreement told The Times it contains a so-called poison tail that requires the university to continue handing over its revenue share for two years after canceling.

USC’s contract with the company extends to 2030.

The arrangement has been great for 2U. Not so much for USC.