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APRIL 13, 2015

New Fund will Focus on Identifying Mission-Driven Companies and Partnering with Leaders who are Innovating the Education Landscape

CHICAGO (April 13, 2015) – Sterling Partners, a leading growth-oriented private equity firm, announced today the formation of its new $200 million Education Opportunity Fund, its first-ever sector-focused fund. The fund will focus on growth-stage, purpose-driven companies that are advancing opportunities for learners, driving new revenue streams and enabling efficiencies for academic institutions.

Sterling’s Education Opportunity Fund will be led by Sterling co-founder and Senior Managing Director Chris Hoehn-Saric and Managing Directors Shoshana Vernick and Jason Rosenberg. Education remains a core sector focus for Sterling’s larger buyout funds, and Hoehn-Saric will continue to head Sterling’s education investment activity.

Since its founding in 1983, Sterling has had a rich history of successful investing in the education space. Over the past 30 years, the firm has partnered with and grown industry-defining companies and institutions that are committed to innovation and positive outcomes. The firm looks to partner with leaders who are passionate about building high-performing management teams and capable of driving forward strategies.

To launch the Education Opportunity Fund, Sterling partnered with USA Funds, a mission-driven, nonprofit organization with a focus on “Completion With a Purpose,” promoting a more purposeful path for students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. During its 55-year history, USA Funds has provided support to more than 22 million students and parents to pursue higher education. Sterling’s long-standing approach to investing in the education industry aligns fully with USA Funds’ desire to foster innovation within the education sector and partner with leaders in the field who promote positive student and workplace outcomes.

“We have always been passionate about supporting all aspects of the education sector. Our goal is to improve the quality of learning, help students achieve great academic and workforce outcomes, and support universities in delivering a quality student experience,” said Hoehn-Saric. “Our partnership with USA Funds and our closely aligned philosophies will allow us to continue to pursue private sector investment opportunities of impact.”

“By supporting companies that have developed innovative solutions to the critical challenges confronting education, we will advance our nonprofit mission and our focus on Completion With a Purpose, to enhance student success in college and career,” said William D. Hansen, USA Funds President and CEO.

While the Education Opportunity Fund will primarily focus on partnership models serving the higher education market as well as technology-relevant businesses, it will also invest in targeted areas across the entire student and adult learner lifecycle.  Areas of focus include:

  • Enabling the globalization of education
  • Partnering with colleges and universities
  • Utilizing advanced analytics to improve education services
  • Reshaping the student experience and enabling successful outcomes
  • Implementing technology to improve how students learn and teachers teach
  • Addressing relevant skill gaps and promoting workforce opportunities

Businesses within Sterling’s Education Opportunity Fund portfolio will have access to benefits much deeper than just capital and will be able to take advantage of the firm’s invaluable strategic and operational understanding of the education market. Additionally, portfolio companies will leverage USA Funds’ extensive experience and relationships within the higher education sector.

About Sterling Partners

Sterling Partners is a private equity firm with a distinct point of view on how to build great companies. Founded in 1983, Sterling has invested billions of dollars, guided by the company’s stated purpose: INSPIRED GROWTH®, which describes Sterling’s approach to buying differentiated businesses and growing them in inspired ways. Sterling focuses on investing growth capital in small- and mid-market companies in industries with positive, long-term trends – education, healthcare and business services. Sterling provides valuable support to the management teams of the companies in which the firm invests through a deep and dedicated team of operations and functional experts based in the firm’s offices in Chicago, Baltimore and Miami. The people at Sterling believe in ideas and ideals, in people and in partnerships that drive long-term success. For more information, please visitwww.sterlingpartners.com.

 About USA Funds

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion With a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education. Learn more atwww.usafunds.org.