Sylvan Learning

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Sylvan Learning, Inc.
Industry Education, Tutoring
Founded 1979 (as Sylvan Learning Corporation)
Headquarters Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Owner Sterling Capital Partners
Citigroup Private Equity

Sylvan Learning, Inc. (formerly Sylvan Learning Corporation) consists of franchised and corporate supplemental learning centers which provide personalized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills, homework support, and test preparation for college entrance and state exams. Sylvan provides personalized learning programs and primarily serves students in primary and secondary education.


Sylvan Learning began in Portland, Oregon in 1979 at the Sylvan Hill Medical Center Building. It was founded by former school teacher W. Berry Fowler, who had also worked with the educational company The Reading Game. By 1983, Sylvan had dozens of franchises and moved its headquarters to Bellevue, WA. In 1986, having over 500 franchises, Sylvan went public on the NASDAQ exchange and used funds to develop corporate learning centers in key cities. By July 1987, KinderCare, then based in Montgomery, AL, owned the majority of stock and moved the company to Alabama. Most of the staff did not relocate.

In 1991 the company was taken over by R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric and Douglas L. Becker. In 1997 the company had an annual revenues of $246 million, and in addition to tutoring centers, Sylvan had expanded to offer teacher training, computerized testing, distance learning, and other services.[1]

In 2003, Sylvan Learning was purchased by Apollo Management from Sylvan Learning Systems Inc., its parent company.[2][3] (Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. shifted focus to post-secondary education, and to reflect that change was renamed Laureate Education in 2004.)[3]

Sylvan Learning has been ranked 25 times in Entrepreneur magazine's "Franchise 500 Ranking." [4]

Over 28 franchised centers located in multiple states closed between 2008 to 2013, some very suddenly.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]


  1. ^ Cavanaugh, Joanne P. (September 1998). "Sylvan's Fast Learners". Johns Hopkins Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-22. 
  2. ^ Walsh, Mark (19 March 2003). "Sylvan Learning, Changing Focus, Sells K-12 Sector". Education Week. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Sylvan Learning Renamed". New York Times. 18 May 2004. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Sylvan Learning Record Franchise Sales Accessed January 9, 2011
  5. ^ Brennan, George (10 May 2008). "Sylvan tutoring centers close". Cape Cod Times. Local Media Group, Inc. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Sylvan Learning centers suddenly close". Wisconsin State Journal. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Hilton, John (16 January 2009). "Dickinson Sylvan Learning Center Closes". The Sentinel The Sentinel. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Cassidy, CJ (20 May 2009). "Sylvan Learning Center closes in Cape Girardeau". KFVS12 News. WorldNow. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Braden, Jonathon (23 January 2013). "Sylvan shuts down tutoring centers". Columbia Daily Tribune. Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Nienaber, Dan (25 August 2009). "Sylvan closing was surprise to some". Mankato Free Press. Mankato Free Press. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Sylvan closing its doors". KTIV4. WorldNow. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Sylvan Closing Outrages Parents, Teachers". The Denver Channel. Scripps TV Station Group. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Flack, Eric (28 December 2011). "Customers of shuttered Sylvan Learning Center will get satisfaction". Wave 3 News. WorldNow. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Learning Center Closes Leaving Some Without Refunds". CBS Minnesota. CBS Local Media. 8 January 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Dickinson, Christina (11 May 2011). "Sylvan Learning Center closes abruptly". 9 News Colorado. Multimedia Holdings Corporation. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Sylvan to close". Fremont Tribune. Fremont Tribune. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 


  • Ritzer, George (1996), The McDonaldization of Society: An Investigation into the Changing Character of Contemporary Social Life (Revised ed.), Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press 

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