Leading Test Prep Company Acquires Distance Education Provider

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
October 20, 2009

The Princeton Review, which is best known for its test preparation publications and services, yesterday announced its acquisition of Penn Foster Education Group, Inc., which operates three accredited distance education institutions.

"The Princeton Review continually seeks new ways to meet the needs of increasingly diverse student populations as a changing economy and new technology transform the education landscape," said Michael Perik, president and CEO of The Princeton Review, in a press release. "The addition of Penn Foster greatly expands our presence in post-secondary education in terms of both market reach and the scope of services we provide."

Penn Foster Education Group operates three branches: Penn Foster High School, Penn Foster Career School and Penn Foster College. The three online institutions together serve 223,000 students in more than 150 countries. According to the news release, the $170 million acquisition is expected to increase Princeton Review's "cash flow generating capabilities."

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Perik said that the move towards for-profit higher education was a logical step for The Princeton Review. He noted that with President Obama aggressively pushing the need for more skilled workers and educated Americans, "your eyes naturally go to the career college market."

"Over 40 percent of the country needs to be retrained," he said, "and a growing population is looking to do that online."

Stuart Udell, CEO of Penn Foster, hailed the move as well. "We are thrilled to become a part of The Princeton Review, an organization with a shared passion and mission of helping students achieve their education goals and embark on successful careers," he said in the press release. "Expanding access to post-secondary education is critical for every individual and for our country's economic future. When you consider than an estimated 40 percent of the working population of the U.S. will need to find a new career over the next few years, you quickly realize that together we have an extraordinary opportunity for growth and industry leadership."

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