Purpose-The purpose of this study is to examine the innovations in the international activities of not-for-profit (NFP) universities. While the entry mode literature is well addressed, particularly by international marketing and business scholars, an academically interesting and managerially relevant question relates to the applicability of extant research to the emerging phenomenon of internationalization in the NFP sector. Design/methodology/approach-Using an inductive constructivist qualitative methodology grounded in 12 case studies of internationalization in the NFP education sector, this study applies Dunning’s eclectic framework as its theoretical anchor. Findings-This study identified that entry mode choice in the NFP context may not always be reconciled with extant literature derived mostly from a for-profit context. In particular, the broader definition of offshore equity investment is in sharp contrast to previous entry mode research which is largely, if not exclusively, grounded in a for-profit context. Originality/value-Extant frameworks developed to explain the entry mode phenomena tend to assume a profit maximization philosophy. The propositions advocated in this study are a step further to develop our understanding of internationalization of NFP universities.