bannerFranchisor Stories

Why Sylvan Learning is a Better Franchise Opportunity Than Other Education and Tutoring Franchise Brands

The iconic supplemental and enrichment education brand, with 40+ years of proven results, is constantly innovating and offers a host of benefits for both students and franchise owners that no competitors can match.

In the more than 40 years since Sylvan Learning introduced students and families to its comprehensive and impactful instruction model, the supplemental and enrichment education franchise has seen no shortage of competitors vying for the same success the 750 point of presence brand has found in markets across the globe. But throughout its history, the iconic franchise brand has kept a sharp edge on its competition, introducing a host of benefits, efficiencies and supports for clients and franchisees alike that other supplemental education brands are unable to match.

Teaching Profile and Delivery

When it comes to the quality of educators and programs, Sylvan’s competitors purport to match some of Sylvan’s primary selling points, but none check off the full list. Huntington Learning Center, for instance, offers, as Sylvan does, a low student-to-teacher ratio and full hour-long sessions, but the franchise cannot match Sylvan’s motivational rewards system for students or the number of certified teachers with state credentials in Sylvan’s network. 

“Teaching is, of course, at the very center of what we do at Sylvan, and we are adamant about having the best educators, the most nurturing learning environments and the most impactful curriculums available,” said Emily Levitt, Sylvan’s vice president of education. “And we don’t simply trust that we’re providing the best education — we test it, regularly and rigorously, and we constantly improve our systems based on those results.” 

Educational Technology

One area where Sylvan remains absolutely peerless is educational technology. None of Sylvan’s competitors — not Kumon, Mathnasium, Huntington or any other brand — can claim to offer a suite of digital resources as robust and effective as Sylvan’s. Here are just some of the technological resources Sylvan offers clients and franchisees:

  • Computer-adaptive assessment tests and progress assessments.
  • Individual, adaptive learning plans adjusted in real time using advanced technology.
  • Computers and tablets as teaching tools.
  • Online progress tracking for parents.
  • Online learning activities for kids.

“Sylvan stands head and shoulders above its competition in so many ways, but our technology is probably the most clear-cut example,” said Sylvan CEO John McAuliffe. “For years, we have been rolling out cutting-edge technology to make our programming more accessible and more effective for students. Other brands might treat technology as a sort of nice-to-have addition on top of their more traditional method. For us, technology is at the very center of what we offer.”

Diversification of Programs

Most supplemental education brands focus on one area of education or a small range of interrelated disciplines. Sylvan’s philosophy of education holds that every area of education is influenced by every other area, and its curriculum is accordingly comprehensive. Today, Sylan is the only major supplemental and enrichment education brand that offers tutoring in reading, writing, math, algebra, geometry, study skills, ACT and SAT test prep, state test prep, science and college readiness, and accelerated courses in robotics, coding and engineering.

Karen Nguyen, one of Sylvan’s newest franchisees, is set to open her first center in Ottawa, Ontario in early 2021. Nguyen said she chose Sylvan in part because of its comprehensive curriculum, the effects of which she’d seen firsthand with her cousin, a Sylvan student.

“My cousin started to lag behind some of the other students when she was in fifth grade, so I helped my aunt look into tutoring options,” Nguyen said. “We looked at both Kumon and Sylvan, and when we did the assessment at Sylvan, we discovered that her difficulties in school stemmed from reading. So it wasn’t that she was bad at math or anything else, it was that she was having difficulty understanding the questions.”

Had Nguyen enrolled her cousin at an exclusively math-focused tutoring center, the root of her difficulties would not likely have been addressed, and she would have continued to struggle. By focusing on a wider range of subjects than its competitors, Sylvan is best equipped to identify and address the learning difficulties holding students back in any subject.

Measurement and Results

Of course, all of Sylvan’s competitive advantages add up to nothing if its students are not growing and improving with each lesson. That’s why Sylvan has committed to constant research, testing and progress updates.

“For every 24 hours of instruction, we test students to make sure that they’re showing progress, and even after all these years, we’re still blown away by the results,” said Levitt. “Students who come to Sylvan for reading tutoring achieve up to three times more growth in their reading scores compared to their peers. By measuring those results, we not only ensure that our programming is working, but we make ourselves accountable to parents so they can see exactly how effective our instruction is.”

Staying Ahead of the Competition

As Sylvan continues to welcome new franchisees, students and families in new markets around the world, the brand is not satisfied to rest on its laurels. But it’s not about beating the competition for the sake of staying a step ahead, said McAuliffe.

“We are dedicated to providing the best, most impactful resources, environment and programming to our students as well as to our franchisees. Staying ahead of the competition comes along with that commitment, but it is not the driver,” he said. “We’ve been innovators in the supplemental education field for more than four decades, and we’ve been able to maintain that progress by never feeling satisfied — we’re always looking to do more, to be more impactful, to reach more students and to be a stronger partner to families.”

The startup costs for a Sylvan Learning franchise range from $70,270 to $163,625. The franchise fee is $24,000. To learn more about franchising with Sylvan Learning, visit

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.