2020 Annual Impact Report: Three takeaways from GEM’s report on learning through a global pandemic

SNHU GEM students continue to study and succeed despite uncertain times — here’s what we can learn from GEM’s flexible, competency-based model.

Like many higher education and humanitarian organizations, the 2020 academic year brought unprecedented challenges to Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM). 

As the year unfolded, however, SNHU GEM students have continued to study and succeed in uncertain times and despite the dual challenges of the pandemic and displacement from their homes. 

This year’s Annual Impact Report highlights the resilience and problem solving of GEM students along with important lessons in how GEM’s responsive and supportive competency-based model can be leveraged across education settings. 

As we celebrate our third academic year and look ahead to 2021, here are three things we hope you’ll take a closer look at in our 2020 Annual Impact Report


GEM’s low-cost, high-success stats

To ensure the continued success of GEM’s efforts, the program has to be sustainable. That means focusing on student outcomes while keeping costs as low as possible. 

This year, through innovative programs like GEM Hub, we’ve been able to reduce per-students costs while maintaining graduation rates higher than other U.S. and global colleges and universities — compare GEM’s 98% four-year graduation rates to U.S. public universities 33% four-year graduation rates. 

Learn more about how GEM stacks up and continues to prioritize long-term program success. 


Student entrepreneurs helping their communities 

In addition to supporting access to internship programs, GEM encourages entrepreneurship as an avenue to employment for graduates and as a way to support projects that promote the health, wellbeing, and development of the community.

This past year, several GEM students have launched impactful community-based businesses — including a coding center in Malawi’s Dzaleka refugee camp, a soap factory in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, and a healthcare supply and education non-profit also in the Kakuma refugee camp.

Learn more about the student entrepreneurs and their impact as well as the support from the SNHU community that made these businesses possible. 


What’s next for GEM

Today, GEM is the world’s largest provider of U.S.-accredited bachelor’s degrees for refugee learners. Over the next several years, GEM is focused on building the sustainability of the program, maintaining the strength and impact of the existing sites, and exploring opportunities to bring GEM to new contexts and student populations. 

GEM’s competency-based degree model is an innovation with global potential. 

Learn more about GEM’s smart growth strategies and focus on financial sustainability.