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Savvas Acquires Online College Course Provider

Savvas Learning Company, which produces digital learning tools for K-12, hopes to bring dual enrollment and dual-credit opportunities to its clients by acquiring an ed-tech startup that offers online college courses.

A person sitting at a table working at a laptop and writing with a pen.
Savvas Learning Company, which makes digital instruction materials for K-12 school districts, is expanding its reach into online higher education.

According to a news release yesterday, the New Jersey-based company has acquired the ed-tech startup, which makes online college courses for high schoolers to take through dual-enrollment programs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Outlier by Savvas brand is already noted on Savvas’ website.

Savvas CEO Bethlam Forsa said high schools across the country are unable to offer college credit opportunities due to lack of transportation, limited staff or other logistical issues. With her company’s footprint established nationwide, she added, millions of high school students who are already familiar with Savvas tools will have an opportunity to take college courses in their local classrooms.

“There’s a growing demand for dual-enrollment and dual-credit opportunities for high school students across the country,” Forsa said in a public statement.

As of June 2022, the vast majority of states and Washington, D.C., allow dual enrollment and/or dual credits for high school students who want to take college-level courses, according to the Education Commission of the States website.

Outlier’s website indicates transferable courses are transcripted and overseen by the University of Pittsburgh, and students who complete two-year programs in certain majors receive an associate’s degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Eighteen colleges and universities are listed on Outlier’s transfer network, meaning the credits earned via Outlier can be applied toward a degree program at those schools.

With 14- to 15-week semesters, 39 weeks for a full academic year, and class sessions designated for standard 45-minute school periods, Outlier’s courses fit within a typical high school calendar and daily schedule. High school teachers can facilitate college-level instruction in real time within their own classroom by operating a dashboard, according to the news release.

In addition to higher education courses, also offers workforce training and professional certificate programs with technology companies like Meta, Google and Salesforce, according to the news release. CEO Aaron Rasmussen said high school administrators embrace the idea of dual-credit courses because they prepare students for the academic challenges of postsecondary education while helping to make degree programs more affordable and accessible, particularly to students who have historically been underrepresented at colleges and universities.

“We are thankful to our university partners, our educators, our students, and our team members who have helped us to accomplish our mission to provide access to college and career learning to students, regardless of geography or socioeconomic background,” he said in a public statement.

Wednesday’s announcement marked Savvas’ third acquisition in as many years. Last March, the company acquired Whooo’s Reading, which incorporated artificial intelligence into reading and writing instruction. One year prior, Savvas purchased Rubicon Publishing Inc., a Canadian company that sold digital math tools.