The future

is online

Expanding access to quality higher education.

Taking universities online.

Creating the future, today.


HEP’s mission is to increase access to top quality and affordable higher education through the online delivery of instruction and help online students succeed.

Equality of opportunity is at the heart of everything we do. By helping people improve their lives, whatever their background and circumstances, we believe that affordable and high-quality higher education builds fairer and more equitable societies, unlocks the potential of individuals, helps harmonise skills gaps with the needs of the workplace, transforms employability rates and delivers a thriving global economy.


HEP’s mission is to increase access to top quality and affordable higher education through the online delivery of instruction and help online students succeed.

Equality of opportunity is at the heart of everything we do. By helping people improve their lives, whatever their background and circumstances, we believe that affordable and high-quality higher education builds fairer and more equitable societies, unlocks the potential of individuals, helps harmonise skills gaps with the needs of the workplace, transforms employability rates and delivers a thriving global economy.


We have invested in cutting edge technology and market-leading expertise to help our partner universities grow their online market share. Our comprehensive suite of services includes:

  • Competitive online program portfolio selection.
  • Omni-channel marketing and online student recruitment.
  • Online student enrollment, retention and ongoing student support.
  • Academic capacity-building, including programme planning, instructional design, assistance in module conversion, quality reviews and faculty professional development.
  • Operational assistance to effectively support online student lifecycle.

Our Partner Support team works closely with operational teams at university partners to develop and execute structured yet tailored plans for the implementation and launch of new online programmes. The team delivers step-by-step support, guidance and expertise to ensure that all stakeholders, processes, systems and technology are aligned and geared up to deliver an outstanding end-to-end student experience.

Change Management

Programme Launch & Ongoing Management

Our Academic Services team supports university’s academic staff and instructional design teams with evidence-based best practices in online teaching and learning, guidance around strategic programme planning, and ongoing professional development and training opportunities.

Based upon needs analysis and in collaboration with programme leaders, the team guides online programme design and planning, assists in module mapping and development, module delivery, quality reviews, and utilisation and deployment of learning tools and technologies, all with the clear aim of ensuring the best possible student experience and student outcomes.

Our Academic Services approach is entirely tailored to the needs of each partner and is built around the principle of scalability. It is further focused on capacity building, equipping the academic teams at the university with the knowledge, tools and resources to help them design and deliver successful online programmes in a virtual learning environment. Ownership of all intellectual property always remains with the partnering institutions.

We take a comprehensive, customised and data-driven approach to promoting each partner’s online offering and manage on their behalf a proprietary, programme-specific omni-channel marketing strategy and execution. Our objective is to identify and target through various media outlets the most qualified potential students with the highest probability of enrolment.

Our digital expertise includes search engine marketing, content marketing, search engine optimisation, email marketing, and video and social media marketing across multiple user platforms including mobile, tablet and desktop. We work with Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing, as well as additional affiliates to give our partners a competitive advantage in a highly competitive marketplace.

Our offline capability includes business-to-business marketing, traditional marketing through radio, direct mail, newspaper, magazine and outdoor advertising as well as public relations.

Our team of university-designated Enrolment Specialists engages with prospective students under university’s unique brand and helps them make informed decisions about online programme selection. The team follows a clearly defined and robust strategy in connecting with enquiring students and having the right conversations with potential learners to assess their online programme suitability. Each prospective student is assigned a dedicated Enrolment Specialist who supports him/her from the point of enquiry through the application and enrolment processes, right up to the beginning of class.

Student success is fundamentally what determines the success of our university partnerships. That’s why each of our partner universities is assigned a Student Success team to ensure the best possible student outcomes. The team provides proactive engagement and encouragement and support to all students throughout their online journey. Each student is allocated a dedicated Student Success Specialist who ensures that s/he is given the right level of support, from enrolment right through to graduation, and who identifies when the student needs encouragement, guidance or intervention in order to succeed.


EMENA Region Europe/Middle East/North Africa

HEP is committed to expanding access to quality education in the EMENA region. HEP believes in the transformative power of higher education on peoples’ personal and professional lives, and society as a whole.


Card image cap

Ian Howell

CEO - Europe and North Africa

Ian is HEP’s CEO for Europe & North Africa and is responsible for all aspects of the HEP business across this region. Prior to assuming this role Ian was SVP University Partnerships with responsibility for managing HEP’s partner universities globally. Before joining HEP Ian was the COO of Open University Worldwide with responsibility for international student recruitment, corporate sales, strategic partnerships and apprenticeships. Ian worked for Thomson Reuters for 11 years in a number of senior leadership positions and prior to this served as an officer in the British Army.


‘The transformative impact of education is key to our evolution as a society. Higher Ed Partners work with a select group of universities to expand access to high quality and affordable online education globally, helping to underpin the future success of our partners and of innumerable ambitious individuals across the world.’

Card image cap

Sarah Frame

Director, Partner Support

Sarah is HEP’s Director of Partner Support where she oversees the onboarding, launch and ongoing operational support for HEP’s partner institutions. Sarah has over 20 years of experience in online learning, gained in both the private and public and higher education sectors in the UK and internationally. Sarah’s experience includes 5 years as Head of School of Distance & E-learning at University of East London. Prior to joining HEP, Sarah served as Director EMEA for Toolwire Inc, providing immersive learning solutions to universities and industry. Sarah holds RICS Professional qualifications and is a Fellow of the Learning & Performance Institute.


Card image cap

Ed Harland-Lang

Director, Marketing

Ed is HEP’s Director of Marketing. He is responsible for the omni-channel marketing and student recruitment for online programmes from HEP university partners. Prior to joining HEP, Ed worked in a number of marketing leadership roles, including Head of Marketing for the Churchill and Privilege insurance brands and Head of Marketing at NIG. Ed is responsible for launching the marketing activity for partners and for ensuring the ongoing efficiency, effectiveness and success of marketing campaigns and their performance. Collaborating closely with university partners from the outset, Ed develops a deep understanding of their brand, culture, strengths and points of differentiation - creating a bespoke marketing strategy for each institution. He manages the development, execution, measurement and ongoing optimisation of all campaigns, partner sites and landing pages, taking a data-driven approach to delivering continuous improvement in both marketing and enrolment performance.


Card image cap

Ed Perryman

Vice President for New Partnership Development

Ed is Vice President for New Partnership Development. He is responsible for forging new university partnerships that align with HEP's vision, values and model. Ed manages all aspects of the process up to the point of contract signature and ensures that each new partner institution is set up for success at the point of onboarding. Ed brings a real breadth of education experience and above all a passion for improving access and outcomes using technology. Prior to HEP, Ed led the development of new UK partnerships at Aula, one of Europe's fastest-growing EdTech startups, where he worked with senior leadership at universities such as Glasgow, Coventry and South Wales to craft innovative new strategies around digital and blended learning. Before Aula, Ed spent over 10 years in general management and student recruitment roles at high-growth education providers such as Cambridge Education Group. Ed holds a BA from University College London and an MBA from Imperial College Business School.


Card image cap

Emma Haycox

Vice President, New Partnership Development

Emma is HEP’s Vice President for New Partnership Development where she is responsible for driving the development of new engagements with UK institutions. Emma has 15 years of experience in online learning gained in both the private and public sector and in higher education. Prior to joining HEP, Emma was an Associate Director at the London School of Economics where she was responsible for all technology-led change programmes across the School. This followed 4 years as Director of Digital Education for one of the UK’s largest groups of FE institutions, where she designed and led a complete digital transformation programme to enable online learning for all faculties across the group. Before joining the education sector, Emma held a senior position with a world-leading manufacturer of medical devices – CooperVision, where she was responsible for designing and implementing a global digital learning strategy to support the delivery of internal and customer-facing learning initiatives. Emma is a qualified teacher and has studied Digital Learning at Masters level. Emma holds a BA in Product Design and Marketing and also has professional qualifications in Project and Change Management and in IT Service Management. Emma is an accredited member of the CiPD and aspires to study for a PhD in Global Education.


Card image cap

Iain Gibson

SVP University Partnerships - Europe and North Africa

In his role as SVP University Partnerships, Iain is responsible for managing our university partners across the Europe and North Africa regions, defining and delivering the strategic vision for each partnership. He also supports day-to-day operations – academic, marketing, enrolment, retention - to ensure that students receive a high quality experience throughout the duration of their studies. Prior to joining HEP Iain worked for Wiley for several years. For the past six years he was Executive Partnership Director for their Education Services Division and was responsible for both establishing the UK operation as well as launching a number of their online UK-based partners. Before this, Iain spent six years in a business development role at Wiley with responsibility for rolling out their digital Higher Education eLearning products across the Middle East. Iain brings a wealth of operational experience to the team as well as a strategic view of the online market.


Card image cap

Adam Watson

Director, Technology

Adam leads HEP’s technology function. He has nearly 20 years of experience working in the UK higher education sector at a portfolio of institutions including the University of York, University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. As Director of Technology, Adam is responsible for the design and implementation of the business processes and data integrations that underpin HEP’s university partnerships. He is also responsible for the day-to-day IT requirements of the business including management of HEP’s CRM. Adam is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Professional Member of the Charted Institute of IT and an Affiliate Member of the Institute of Leadership & Management. He holds a BSc(Hons) and MSc and is a qualified practitioner of a number of frameworks and methodologies including SCRUM, PRINCE2, ITIL version 3 and TOGAF 9.1.



Card image cap

Roné Robbetze

Senior Vice President of Business Development, EMENA

Roné is Senior Vice President of Business Development and her team operates in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EMENA). She has been active in the international Higher Education market for more than 20 years, starting her career in South Africa before moving to The Netherlands. Prior to joining HEP, Roné held diverse Vice President roles with the academic publisher, Springer Nature, and acted as Director of Publisher Relations with the EdTech company, ProQuest, and Swets Information Services. In the later part of the 6 years Roné spent with Springer Nature, she was part of the team that established and implemented new business models, most prominently to accommodate the move to Open Access. She was the global lead in change management and establishing processes to support commercial teams and models in a changing internal and external environment.


Card image cap

Vicente Prior

Vice President Business Development

Vicente is HEP’s Vice President for University Partnerships in Spain. He is responsible for all business development efforts in that country, onboarding and subsequently managing HEP’s Spanish university partnerships. Prior to joining HEP, Vicente spent 26 years with Santander banking group working in various executive roles, including as global head for Products and Channels within the Universities division, which served 7.6 million university customers in 12 countries. Prior to Santander, Vicente worked for Accenture as a consultant in advanced practices in Spain, Switzerland and UK. He holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in Physics from the University of Salamanca and an MBA from IESE at the University of Navarra.


Card image cap

Maria Nekrasova

Vice President Business Development

Maria is responsible for establishing and managing partnerships with universities in French-speaking Europe. She brings over a decade of international experience in education management and business development. Prior to joining HEP Maria held the position of director at the European Cultural Academy in Italy where she spearheaded international strategic collaborations with universities. Before that Maria managed portfolio of online and blended MBAs at IE Business School in Spain. Since then, she has become an evangelist for the online format in higher education. Maria has a degree in Education from Moscow State University and a Master in Sociology from EHESS in Paris.



Card image cap

Lord John Eatwell

Chairman of the Board

Professor Lord Eatwell has served for more than two decades as President of Queens' College at the University of Cambridge and was also Director of the Centre for Financial Analysis and Policy at Cambridge’s Judge Business School. A 25-year Labour member of the House of Lords, he has served as Principal Opposition Spokesman for Treasury and Economic Affairs. Lord Eatwell was a member of the UK’s Board of the Securities and Futures Authority and the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the UK Financial Services Authority as well as Chairman of the Jersey Financial Services Commission. He is the founder of the Institute for Public Policy Research, a leading UK think tank. Educated at Cambridge and Harvard University, Lord Eatwell has been a teaching fellow at Harvard, a visiting professor at Columbia University and is a visiting professor of economics at the University of Southern California.


Card image cap

Justyna Dymerska, Ph.D.

Board Member

Justyna Dymerska is Chairman and Managing Partner of Best Merchant Partners (BMP), a parent organization of a group of online program managers across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Educated at the University of Cambridge, she spent her entire career in education, initially as post-doctoral fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin and Southern Methodist University. After joining BMP, she worked in executive roles at its portfolio companies, including at Academic Partnerships and Ilumno. Justyna serves or has served on the boards of directors of Ilumno, Higher Ed Partners Limited, Higher Ed Partners South Africa, Academic Partnerships Foundation and various higher education institutions in Brazil, Argentina, Panama, Chile and Colombia.


Prioritising wellbeing in higher education: strategies for improving students’ mental health

That increasing numbers of students are experiencing mental health problems isn’t news; it’s an escalating trend that was extensively documented even before the Covid-19 pandemic, as HE providers reported unprecedented demands for access to their health and welfare support services prior to the 2020 crisis.

Diversification: the key to unlocking new higher education revenue streams

The recent global crisis has highlighted a long-standing need for revenue diversification in the higher education sector.

The same but different: improving fairness of access, participation, and outcomes in higher education

Fairness lies at the heart of modern higher education – in principle, at least. That everyone – regardless of social or economic background – can aspire to study for a globally acknowledged qualification, opening doors to greater education and employment opportunities, has been a cornerstone of HE provision for decades. But equality only works if everyone’s starting point is the same and, as societal divisions widen, universities must do more to level the pitch.

Optimising the digital higher education experience: delivering outstanding support for online learners

The higher education sector is experiencing a period of rapid transformation. With demand for more flexible access options catalysing significant growth in online, hybrid and blended delivery models, universities must not only design new, more adaptable, degree programmes, but must also review and strengthen the support services that are essential to sustain a student body that’s more diverse – and dispersed – than ever before.

Hybrid and blended learning: the flexible future of higher education?

After the restrictions of the last two years, the fact that university campuses everywhere are once again buzzing with students feels like a cause for optimism.

Transforming higher education for the long term

For those in the world’s wealthiest countries, tertiary education has now become the norm – especially among the 18-34-year-old demographic.

Automation in online education

Technology is fundamental in addressing one of the biggest challenges in education – how to continue to increase scale on decreasing budgets?

Online delivery is rightly seen as a valid approach. However, we must consider the students’ consumer expectations for educational experiences that are as good as experiences in other sectors, such as retail or online services, along with the goal of ensuring students are treated as individuals. Automation is key to meeting these challenges.

Motivating online students to support each other

Clear intentions, guiding principles, well-chosen, and well-instructed activities greatly increase students’ participation in peer learning

There are a variety of strategies to help students feel engaged and motivated to participate in online distance learning (ODL) programmes, but perhaps none are more powerful than finding ways to motivate students to interact with their peers.

Effective peer learning in online courses

How to motivate students to participate and genuinely benefit from learning from their peers

Well-designed online learning can be highly engaging, motivating, and enjoyable. Historically though, distance learning, both pre-web and in early online courses, suffered from poor retention – students found it difficult to study on their own.

The future of work: how universities can prepare students for an uncertain future

More people than ever are going to university. In the UK, well over a third of all 18-year-olds (37.8 percent) enrolled on a full-time undergraduate course last year, according to UCAS. And, while some students are drawn to higher education to increase their academic knowledge and enjoy the university experience, most will also be looking to improve their employment and earning prospects. Government figures for 2020 show a graduate employment rate of 86.4 percent, with median graduate earnings standing at £35,000 (£9,500 more than their non-graduate counterparts).

Creating a rich social and cultural experience for online degree learners

Much of the discussion around the recent global shift from campus-based to remote-learning models has centred on the quality of online programmes of study – more particularly on how universities can effectively motivate, support, and assess individuals as part of a dispersed student population.

Breaking the bias: addressing the higher education gender pay gap

As participation continues to widen in the UK’s higher education sector with increasing numbers of applications from previously underrepresented sectors, many gender-based anomalies remain. For example, while women are much more likely to go to university than men (as well as to complete their studies and to achieve a good degree), figures show that women graduates cede their professional advantage in a matter of months.

Contact us

Please fill the form and we will contact you as soon as possible.


Contact us

Please fill the form and we will contact you as soon as possible.


Back to Team