Market Overview

Sterling Partners' Education Opportunity Fund Announces Sale of National Research Center for College & University Admissions to Nonprofit ACT


Strategic partnership advances shared mission to support
educational and workplace success

Partners' Education Opportunity Fund
announced today the sale of
its portfolio company The
National Research Center for College & University Admissions

(NRCCUA®), an educational research organization that links high school
students to their "best-fit" college or university to improve graduation
and workplace success. NRCCUA has been acquired by ACT,
., the nonprofit developer of the ACT® test and other assessments
taken by millions of individuals annually worldwide. Financial details
surrounding the transaction were not disclosed.

"For over forty years, we have helped connect students to colleges and
universities. When we partnered with the Education Opportunity Fund, the
purpose was to accelerate our growth and impact. We've more than
delivered on that, faster than I could have possibly imagined," said
NRCCUA Chairman Don Munce.

NRCCUA was the first investment made from the Education Opportunity
Fund, Sterling Partners' first-ever sector-focused fund. Since
partnering with the fund, NRCCUA has invested significantly in
technology, operational talent, and strategic relationships, growing its
members to more than 1,800 four-year nonprofit colleges and
universities. NRCCUA also launched its Encoura platform,
which provides advanced, data-driven enrollment management and research

"The Education Opportunity Fund has been a supportive, innovative and
creative partner. We have expanded our solutions, expanded our
membership base, and created new technology platforms under their
ownership," said Patrick Vogt, CEO of NRCCUA. "Our business has scaled
to the point where we can strategically and successfully combine with a
larger organization whose mission aligns with our own to better support
students and universities." Vogt will remain on as CEO of NRCCUA and
myOptions™, a free college and career planning service. He will report
directly to ACT CEO Marten Roorda.

Together, NRCCUA and ACT will offer decades of experience and expertise
in delivering data science, analytics, research, measurement, and
assessments to the higher-education industry. The acquisition of NRCCUA
will advance ACT's efforts to promote equity in education, especially
with underserved K-12 students, while postsecondary institutions will
benefit from immediate access to data and research that will enhance
their marketing and recruiting efforts.

"As a relatively young fund, we're thrilled at the success of this
investment and want to thank and congratulate everyone involved," said
Sterling Partners Managing Director Shoshana Vernick. "At the Education
Opportunity Fund, we continue to look for innovative leaders and ideas
that will significantly improve outcomes and our partnership with NRCCUA
was a perfect example."

About Sterling Partners' Education Opportunity Fund

Sterling Partners is a diversified investment firm committed to building
high-quality companies. Its eighth private equity fund, the Education
Opportunity Fund ("EOF"), was launched in partnership with Strada
Education Network in April 2015. The Fund's objective is to invest in
purpose-driven companies and partner with high-performing leaders that
are taking an innovative approach to transforming the education
landscape. The Education Opportunity Fund targets investments where it
can invest $10 million to $50 million of equity capital in growth-stage,
technology-relevant businesses. For more information, visit

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping
people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa
City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation's leader in college and career
readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in
more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely
integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from elementary
school through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To
learn more about ACT, visit


The National Research Center for College and University Admissions is an
educational data science and research organization serving over
1,800-member institutions comprised of public and private four-year
colleges and universities across the nation. For 45 years, NRCCUA has
been a leading provider of data, technology, and programs serving
students, high school educators, four-year colleges and universities
from its offices in Lee's Summit, MO, Boston, MA, New York, NY, and
Austin, TX. These solutions represent the link between students making
important life decisions and those providing the resources and
information they need to succeed in their post-secondary educations and
careers. With the launch of its Encoura™ Data Lab, the company now
combines data science, advanced analytics, research, predictive modeling
and omnichannel enrollment services in one platform to enable
institutions to make real-time strategic and operational decisions to
meet their unique enrollment goals and create the highest probability of
student success. For more information, visit

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