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]

Center closures[edit]

Several franchised centers have closed in the 2008 to 2013 timeframe, including three in Massachusetts[5] and Connecticut (2008), three in Wisconsin[6] (2008/9), one in Pennsylvania[7](2009), four in Missouri[8][8](2009), two in Arkansas[9] (2009), one in Minnesota[10](2009), one in Iowa[11](2009), and three in northern Colorado[12] (2010), one in New York [13](2010), three in Florida[14](2011), another in Minnesota[15](2011), another in Colorado[16](2011), one in California[17](2011), four more in the Carolinas[18](2012) and several more in Massachusetts[19][20](2013) as well as Missouri[21](2013).


  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. ^ Sylvan tutoring centers close Cape Cod Times
  6. ^ Wisconsin State Journal
  7. ^ The Sentinel
  8. ^ a b CBS News
  9. ^ Columbia Tribune
  10. ^ Mankato Free Press
  11. ^ NBC News
  12. ^ ABC News
  13. ^ NBC News
  14. ^ Daytona Beach News Journal
  15. ^ CBS Minnesota
  16. ^ NBC News
  17. ^ Fremont Tribune
  18. ^ Charlotte Observer
  19. ^ ABC News
  20. ^ Cape Cod Times
  21. ^ CBS News


  • 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 

External links[edit]