Learning Centers and Educational Franchises Cater To Increasing Demand

The quest for knowledge.

That, and an increasingly competitive world, coupled with parent demand, is driving the tutoring and learning center industry. It's another growing opportunity in franchising. The Education Industry Association projected growth of 15 percent in this sector last year. Higher expectations, low test scores, and mounting competition for admission to top-tier universities are boosting student enrollment at tutoring and learning centers across the country. Facilities like Sylvan, Huntington, and Kumon are witnessing this exploding growth firsthand.

At Kumon Math and Reading Centers, enrollment has increased by more than 55 percent over the past four years. As a result, the company opened dozens of new centers in 2005 to meet the demand.

"Supplemental education programs are gaining momentum across the country, especially among elementary school children," says Mark Mele, vice president of franchising with Kumon. "In fact, more than 60 percent of students enrolled in Kumon Math and Reading Centers are in the second through sixth grades, with fourth graders comprising the highest enrollment."

Kumon is an after-school math and reading program founded in Japan in 1958. The learning method uses a systematic approach said to help children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. According to Kumon, through daily practice and mastery of materials, students increase confidence, improve concentration, and develop better study skills. Today, there are 3.5 million students studying at more than 22,000 Kumon Centers in 43 countries. North America now has more than 1,600 Kumon centers and 180,000 students enrolled.

Huntington Learning Centers' recent growth likewise has been fueled by the increased desire by parents to seek a branded tutoring service. Since 1998, the supplemental education services industry has grown at a compounded annual rate of nearly 12 percent, reaching $6 billion in 2004. According to the U.S. Department of Education, enrollment in elementary and secondary schools rose 20 percent, to more than 54 million students, between 1985 and 2003. The pool of school-age children is expected to grow by
an additional 2 million over the next 10 years. It's a growth market any way you look at it.

Huntington Learning Centers now has more than 250 learning centers in 37 states. Huntington provides instruction in reading, writing, spelling, phonics, mathematics, study skills, and SAT and ACT preparation to tens of thousands of students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students are given an initial evaluation to pinpoint learning needs and create a personalized instruction program.

Sylvan Learning Center has taken its 25 years of teaching experience online. The company, which offers personal tutoring programs from essential skills such as reading, math, and writing, to ACT, SAT, and state test prep classes, has more than 900 centers located throughout North America.

With the addition of an online program, students can now get help traditionally at Sylvan's facilities or take part in live, online tutoring from the comfort of home-making tutoring convenient for both parent and child. Sylvan Online offers individual attention and personalized programs in a real-time, interactive learning environment. A PC with Windows software and an Internet connection are all that's needed.

The number of franchising opportunities in this growing market is on the rise. If you want to "learn" more, this is a good place to start.

Published: February 1st, 2006

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