Savvas Learning Company Expands Into Higher Education With Outlier.org AcquisitionBy Joy Liwanag
Savvas Learning Company, a prominent provider of digital instructional materials for K-12 school districts, has ventured into the realm of online higher education through its recent acquisition of ed-tech startup Outlier.org.
The New Jersey-based company aims to bridge the gap between high school and college by enabling high schoolers to take online college courses through dual-enrollment programs. While the terms of the deal remain undisclosed, the new venture is already branded as Outlier by Savvas, signaling the company's foray into this evolving education space.
Empowering High School Students With College Credit Opportunities
Savvas CEO Bethlam Forsa highlights a critical issue faced by high schools across the country-challenges in offering college credit opportunities due to factors such as transportation limitations, staffing constraints, or logistical hurdles. With Savvas' widespread presence in K-12 education, Forsa envisions addressing this gap by providing millions of high school students, already familiar with Savvas tools, the chance to seamlessly integrate college courses into their local classrooms.
"There's a growing demand for dual-enrollment and dual-credit opportunities for high school students across the country," Forsa emphasizes, emphasizing the need to empower students with the ability to engage in college-level coursework while still in high school.
As of June 2022, a majority of states and Washington, D.C., permit dual enrollment and/or dual credits for high school students interested in undertaking college-level courses, according to the Education Commission of the States website.
Outlier.org's Unique Approach to Dual-Enrollment Courses
Outlier.org, the ed-tech startup acquired by Savvas, specializes in creating online college courses tailored for high schoolers participating in dual-enrollment programs. The platform offers transferable courses transcripted and overseen by the University of Pittsburgh. Successful completion of two-year programs in specific majors results in an associate's degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Outlier's transfer network includes 18 colleges and universities, allowing students to apply the credits earned through Outlier toward degree programs at these institutions.
The structure of Outlier's courses aligns with the typical high school calendar and daily schedule, featuring 14- to 15-week semesters, 39 weeks for a full academic year, and class sessions designed for standard 45-minute school periods. The platform enables high school teachers to facilitate college-level instruction in real-time within their classrooms using an intuitive dashboard, according to the company's news release.
Beyond higher education courses, Outlier.org extends its offerings to workforce training and professional certificate programs in collaboration with leading technology companies such as Meta, Google, and Salesforce. This expansion aligns with the evolving landscape of education, emphasizing the importance of preparing students not only for traditional academic paths but also for emerging career opportunities.
Aligning With Educational Trends and Mission
Outlier.org CEO Aaron Rasmussen emphasizes the support and enthusiasm from high school administrators for the concept of dual-credit courses. He sees these initiatives as vital in preparing students for the academic challenges of postsecondary education while simultaneously making degree programs more affordable and accessible, particularly for historically underrepresented student groups.
Rasmussen expresses gratitude to university partners, educators, students, and team members who have contributed to Outlier's mission of providing access to college and career learning, transcending geographical and socioeconomic barriers.
This strategic move marks Savvas Learning Company's third acquisition in as many years. The company's expansion into higher education follows the acquisition of Whooo's Reading in March, incorporating artificial intelligence into reading and writing instruction. A year prior, Savvas acquired Rubicon Publishing Inc., a Canadian company specializing in digital math tools. These acquisitions collectively position Savvas as a comprehensive education solutions provider across various educational levels and domains.
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