When Sylvan Learning was founded over 37 years ago, it was considered more of remedial tutoring business than anything else. But as times changed, so too did the educational needs of children. As a result, Sylvan began tweaking and enhancing its system to better serve every student that walks through its doors. This started with bringing technology to the forefront of its franchise expansion plans, using interactive lessons to better engage students.
In 2011, Sylvan announced the launch of SylvanSync, a comprehensive system designed to support each student’s personal learning needs, with the aid of specialized, tablet-based digital technology. Then, in 2015, Sylvan further solidified its stance as the leader in the education segment by entering the STEM arena. With the launch of its Sylvan EDGE courses, the company started offering cutting-edge lessons in coding, robotics, engineering and math. Sylvan also enhanced its digital content to build on its offerings in its physical centers and used the some of the best academic technology available to improve the customer experience at home, too.
“Over the past five or six years, we’ve worked incredibly hard to expand our product and increase the use of technology in our learning programs,” said John McAuliffe, Sylvan Learning’s Chief Executive Officer. “Take our variety of classes—we cover the basics like math, reading, study skills and test prep in addition to diving into the STEM arena. That’s something that none of our competitors offer, and it’s a huge differentiator. Sylvan is also the only brand that uses technology to deliver the vast majority of our core programs. We’re constantly continuing to expand more and more online content, ultimately making our program more convenient for students, teachers and families.”
Now, backed by technology-driven personal education programs and more than 750 locations nationwide, the brand is reinventing its franchise system to help serve more students than ever before. This year, Sylvan announced that it would be changing its operating requirements at franchise locations across the country by rolling out a new roadmap that focuses on five major goals: delivering the best educational programs, building the best business model, leading the market, enhancing the brand and growing the franchise system. Becoming a Sylvan owner will also remain incredibly affordable—initial investments typically range between $70,980 to $159,890, including the franchisee fee.
“We’re constantly working to evolve our model and approach to ensure we continue to lead the industry like we have for the last 37 years,” McAuliffe said. “We’ve proven that our model works every time one of our students improves their grades, aces a test or walks into the SAT feeling confident. Now, we’re building on that model to ensure that success continues for years to come.”
Enhancements to Sylvan’s franchise system include a restructured business model with a new franchise license agreement and operating requirements designed to increase flexibility and profitability for franchisees. Center operations will be optimized through state-of-the-art technology, and targeted marketing practices will be used to reach new families. The new franchise model won’t just be used by future franchisees—all existing franchisees were given the ability to migrate to the new license and operating model.
“It’s a completely different fee structure. Our goal is to help our trusted franchise partners be more profitable. Additionally, we are setting up operating requirements for franchisees to drive flexibility and allow franchisees to build better businesses within their local territories,” McAuliffe said. “The new model can help our current franchisees expand their existing businesses, and help us recruit the most passionate entrepreneurs to join our growing system. I’m confident this new roadmap will allow Sylvan to continue to be the most forward-thinking supplemental and enrichment education franchise in the industry.”