The 7 Largest For-Profit Education Companies In The World

By Chris Kolmar
Jul. 19, 2022
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Largest For-Profit Education Companies Research Summary

  • The largest for-profit education company in the world is TAL Education, with a revenue of $4.5 billion and over 30 million students.

  • As of 2021, the global higher education market is worth $85.43 billion.

  • In Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries, for-profit education constitutes over 70% of the higher education sector.

  • The global higher education market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.3% through 2028.

Encompassing private tutors, publishing companies, and for-profit universities, the United States for-profit education industry is massive, exceeding $270 billion in revenue in 2020.

The for-profit education industry is also changing extremely quickly as a result of technological and broad consumer trends. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a massive increase in the popularity of online teaching services and digital textbook providers.

In this article, we’ll cover the 15 largest for-profit education companies in the world. We’ll discuss their offered services and business models, as well as comment on their growth and how they align with where the industry seems to be headed.

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These 15 largest for-profit education companies as of early 2021 are:

  1. TAL Education

    Headquarters: Beijing, China
    Stock Ticker: TAL
    Market Cap: $31.93 billion
    2021 Revenue: $4.5 billion
    Net Income: -$3.27 million

    TAL Education provides after-school education to students in primary and secondary school.

    The company currently serves over 30 million students in China. They operate 676 learning centers across 56 cities, as well as offer online teaching services.

    TAL Education’s most popular products are their math tutoring and SAT/ACT preparation programs. They also offer tutoring for all the other common school subjects, such as history and science.

    Another one of TAL’s notable offerings is their “AI Teacher Solution.”

    Previously, China’s population of under-privileged and mostly rural-dwelling children was too vast for any education company to hire enough tutors to serve. TAL Education has been able to offer this population high-quality education using AI teachers that are individualized to each student.

    Although the company boasted tremendous revenue growth of 60% YOY from 2016-2019, they’ve been experiencing great public controversy due to the revelation that one employee that accounted for 3% of all company revenue was falsely inflating their sales.

    One interesting thing to note is that despite being the largest player in its industry, TAL’s revenue only accounts for a tiny percentage of its country’s for-profit education industry.

    The industry seems to be one that allows for numerous companies, rather than being one that’s dominated by just a few. This could perhaps be due to the difficulty concerning scalability.

    It’s easy for tech companies to scale their infrastructure for mass users, but not so much for education companies that need to recruit more and more educators as their user base grows.

  2. New Oriental Education and Technology

    Headquarters: Beijing, China
    Stock Ticker: EDU
    Market Cap: $31.81 billion
    2021 Revenue: $4.3 billion
    Net Income: $397 million

    New Oriental Education and Technology, often called New Oriental, is the largest provider of private educational services in China in terms of student enrollment, geographic presence, and the variety of programs offered.

    The company owns and operates 1,159 learning buildings, 95 language schools, and 20 book stores across 56 cities. As of early 2021, they currently serve over 45 million students.

    New Oriental’s main program offerings are their pre-school education, online courses, and overseas study consulting.

    They also operate North America and United Kingdom departments that mainly focus on each country’s respective college exams, such as the SAT, ACT, and TOEFL.

    New Oriental’s revenues have grown by over 20% YOY for the past four years.

  3. Bright Horizons

    Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
    Stock Ticker: BFAM
    Market Cap: $10.36 billion
    2021 Revenue: $1.755 billion
    Net Income: $201 million

    Bright Horizons Family Solutions is the largest provider of empower-sponsored child care in the United States. Their other primary educational products include education advising and back-up child care.

    The company was first established in 1986 and opened its first two locations the following year in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    It has since expanded into more than 1,000 child care centers across the globe and 30,000 employees.

    700 of these locations are located in Canada and the United States, and an additional 300 are in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. There are also currently two centers in India, with plans to open additional locations.

    Bright Horizons has recently been acquiring new businesses to expand its operations into new areas of the education industry.

    For example, the company acquired GP Strategies in 2019 to begin offering tuition program management services. They also acquired Sittercity, an online marketplace platform for family solutions, in 2020.

    Another notable element to Bright Horizons Family Solutions is their Bright Horizons Foundation for Children program, which it has operated since 1999. The program offers playrooms and safe spaces for children facing family crises.

  4. Find Bright Horizons Jobs Near Me

  5. K12

    Headquarters: Herndon, Virginia
    Stock Ticker: LRN
    Market Cap: $1.13 billion
    2021 Revenue: $1.59 billion
    Net Income: $38.3 million

    K12 provides fully online K-12 curriculums to over 115,000 students across all 50 states.

    The company offers its online programs at three levels:

    1. Supplemental. These classes expand on what’s taught in classrooms and provide individualized tutoring services.

    2. Homeschooling alternative for parents. Full-day schooling curriculums that contain all the same information that students would receive through typical homeschooling.

    3. Homeschooling alternative for states and districts. The same curriculums as the homeschooling alternative for parents, just marketed towards states and school districts.

      The specific details of a particular type of curriculum that K12 offers may vary depending on the state or school district’s rules and laws.

      In the Commonwealth of Virginia, for example, the company adjusts the teacher-student ratio of their classes to match the state’s schooling standards.

    K12’s programs cover the same subject areas provided through traditional K-12 schooling (hence the company’s name), such as math, science, and history.

  6. Find K12 Jobs Near Me

  7. Strategic Education

    Headquarters: Herndon, Virginia
    Stock Ticker: STRA
    Market Cap: $2.21 billion
    2021 Revenue: $1.13 billion
    Net Income: $81.14 million

    Strategic Education is a holding company that owns several notable educational services businesses:

    • Capella University Capella is a fully-online, for-profit university based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

      The school enrolls 38,392 students over its 52 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral diploma programs.

      47% of all students are enrolled in master’s programs and have an average age of 40.

    • Strayer University. Strayer is a for-profit university that enrolls over 50,000 students worldwide.

      Strayer University is similar to Capella in that most of their students are working adults and mainly over the age of 30.

      Strayer offers most of their classes online, although they do also operate 76 campuses across 15 U.S. states for students wishing to take physical ones.

    • DevMountain. DevMountain is a coding boot camp that offers both fully-online and in-person classes.

      The majority of their classes range between 6 to 26 weeks in length and teach topics such as UI design, mobile app development, and web development.

      There are currently three physical campuses located in Utah, Texas, and Arizona.

      The company was founded in 2013 and has since taught and graduated over 2,000 students.

      Strategic Education acquired DevMountain in 2016 for $20 million.

    • Hackbright Academy. Hackbright Academy is a women-only coding boot camp that offers 10-week programming classes in San Francisco, California.

      Facebook currently sponsors a “Moms in Tech” scholarship, which allows mothers who have previously worked in IT to retrain into the industry at Hackbright at no cost.

    Strategic Education also used to own another code academy called The New York Code + Design Academy. The program officially ceased operations in 2019.

  8. Find Strategic Education Jobs Near Me

  9. Adtalem Global Education

    Headquarters: Chiba, Japan
    Stock Ticker: ATGE
    Market Cap: $1.98 billion
    2021 Revenue: $1.112 billion
    Net Income: $114.4 million

    Adtalem Global Education, formerly known as DeVry Education Group, is an educational services conglomerate that owns and manages postsecondary education institutions.

    Some major examples of these institutions include:

    • American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC). AUC is an international, for-profit medical school based in the Netherlands.

      Although the school is located outside of the United States, it teaches a fully American-based medical curriculum. All of its medical programs are recognized by the Medical Board of California.

    • Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). RUSM is a private medical school based in Barbados, with separate administrative offices located in New Jersey and Florida.

      The school’s main program offerings include clinical training, clerkships, and an eight-week clinical semester called Internal Medicine Foundations (IMF).

    • EduPristine. EduPristine is a global mostly-online school that mainly offers courses focused on finance, accounting, and analytics.

      The company has conducted corporate training for notable companies such as Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, and NUS Singapore.

    • Chamberlain University. Chamberlain is a healthcare and nursing school that offers classes online and in locations across the United States.

      The university has two colleges, the College of Nursing and the College of Health, that offer a variety of doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate programs.

      Chamberlain faced a major controversy in 2017 when students protested the sudden addition of a comprehensive exam that was required for graduation.

    • Find Adtalem Global Education Jobs Near Me

  10. GSX Techedu

    Headquarters: Beijing, China
    Stock Ticker: GSX
    Market Cap: $21.4 billion
    2021 Revenue: $976 million
    Net Income: $226.6 million

    GSX Techedu is the third-largest after-school education company in China. Their main product offerings are their online tutoring programs for K-12 students and their foreign language courses for adult users.

    The company also owns and operates the online educational platform Genshuixue.

    The website allows tutors to upload teaching materials and users to search for topics of their interest, such as piano or ACT prep. The website also comes with an accompanying mobile app for iOS and Android.

    GSX Techedu has been facing controversy since mid-2020 when short-selling organizations such as Muddy Waters Research accused the company of falsely exaggerating their revenue numbers.

    The company currently employs 6435 employees.

  11. Grand Canyon Education

    Headquarters: Essen, Germany (Aldi Nord) Mulheim, Germany (Aldi Sud)
    Stock Ticker: LOPE
    Market Cap: $4.41 billion
    2021 Revenue: $897 million
    Net Income: $182.5 million

    Grand Canyon Education is the company that owns Grand Canyon University, a private for-profit Christian university that serves over 115,000 students. 90,000 of these students are online, while the other 25,000 attend in-person classes.

    The company also offers a variety of educational support services that are completely separate from Grand Canyon University, such as vocational training programs.

    Currently, Grand Canyon Education is attempting to change the for-profit status of its university to non-profit.

    Although the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accepted the company’s application towards this change in 2018, the United States Department of Education ultimately rejected it and still classifies its status as being for-profit.

    Grand Canyon University offers over 200 doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees through its nine colleges.

    A few notable examples of these schools are:

    • Colangelo College of Business

    • GCU Honors College

    • GCU College of Science, Engineering, and Technology

    Grand Canyon University is currently the first and only for-profit member of NCAA Division I. Most of their sports teams also have a membership and participate in the Western Athletic Conference.

  12. Chegg

    Headquarters: Santa Clara, California
    Stock Ticker: CHGG
    Market Cap: $13.16 billion
    2021 Revenue: $776 million
    Net Income: $31.9 million

    Chegg is an educational technology company whose main service offerings are online tutoring and digital textbook rentals.

    Some of their other products include online test guides and forums.

    Another notable feature is Chegg’s text analysis tool, which uses AI to parse text and suggest improvements.

    Their active user base as of late 2020 exceeded 5 million college and high school students.

    The company’s revenue and user growth exploded in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Most students were forced to take classes online and at home, making the fully digital services offered by Chegg extremely useful.

    During the same year, Chegg faced many controversies due to students using their platform to obtain answers and cheat on tests.

  13. Find Chegg Jobs Near Me

  14. Perdoceo Education

    Headquarters: Schaumburg, Illinois
    Stock Ticker: PRDO
    Market Cap: $919.78 million
    2021 Revenue: $639 million
    Net Income: $70 million

    Perdoceo Education, formerly called Career Education Company, is a holding company that owns and manages three for-profit education service companies.

    These are:

    • American InterContinental University (AIU). AIU is an open admissions for-profit university based in Schaumburg, Illinois, the same city as Perdoceo Education.

      The school enrolls over 15,000 students across eight international branches.

      80% of students attend their classes online and can obtain graduate and undergraduate degrees in majors such as IT, business, and healthcare management.

    • Colorado Technical University (CTU). CTU offers undergraduate, undergraduate, and doctoral degrees mainly in the subjects of business, technology, and management.

      There are 23,094 undergraduate and 2,703 graduate students enrolled in the school as of early 2021. 92% of these students attend courses fully-online.

      Despite its name, Colorado Technical University holds no official or public affiliation with the State of Colorado.

    • Trident University International (TUI). Trident is a for-profit online university based out of Cypress, California.

      The school enrolls nearly 15,000 students and has alumni numbering over 30,000. Approximately 75% of students are military veterans.

      Trident is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the American InterContinental University System.

    The company also used to manage eight other educational institutions that have since ceased operations.

  15. China Online Education

    Headquarters: Lakeland, Florida
    Stock Ticker: COE
    Market Cap: $523.94 million
    2021 Revenue: $342 million
    Net Income: $13 million

    China Online Education is an online-only school focused on teaching the English language to students in China. Their main platform goes by the name 51Talk.

    51Talk connects contracted English teachers with students through their phones or computer. Students have the option of attending one-to-many lessons with a single teacher and many other students, or one-on-one tutoring sessions at a premium price.

    51Talk currently has over 300,000 active users.

  16. Universal Technical Institute

    Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
    Stock Ticker: UTI
    Market Cap: 208.86
    2021 Revenue: $335.1 million
    Net Income: $4.68 million

    Universal Technical Institute owns and manages a series of technical colleges across the United States.

    As of early 2021, there are currently 12 physical campuses nationwide. The company reports that enrollment has dropped significantly since 2018.

    Universal Technical Institute’s four flag-ship colleges are:

    1. Universal Technical Institute (UTI). UTI offers technical training to students pursuing gainful employment in the diesel, automotive, and collision repair industries.

      The school’s offered courses range between 45-51 weeks in length and connect students directly with 30 OEM manufacturers.

    2. NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI). NTI is located in Mooresville, North Carolina.

      The school teaches subjects such as drive trains, engine construction, and racing theory principles. Students also learn the rules and history of NASCAR, as well as receive pit crew training.

    3. Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI). MMI provides coursework that focuses on marine technology and manufacturer-specific training for top marine manufacturing companies.

    4. Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI). MMI provides course work that focuses on motorcycle technology.

    5. Find Universal Technical Institute Jobs Near Me

    6. Zovio

      Headquarters: San Diego, California
      Stock Ticker: ZVO
      Market Cap: $184.73 million
      2021 Revenue: $263 million
      Net Income: $21 million

      Zovio, formerly known as Bridgepoint Education, is an education services holding company that owns and operates:

      • Ashford University. Ashford University is an online university that was formed through a merger with the University of the Rockies in 2020.

        The school enrolls over 32,000 students across its 50 doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate degree programs.

        As of early 2021, Zovio is attempting to sell Ashford University to the University of Arizona.

      • Fullstack Academy. Fullstack is a software development boot camp with two locations in Chicago and New York City.

        Its flagship program is a 13-week full-time course that teaches students full-stack Javascript.

        Some of the school’s other programs include a summer program for college students called Summer of Code and a part-time version of the same course called Flex.

      • TutorMe. TutorMe is a website that connects students seeking study or homework help with online tutors that are verified by a top university.

        The website currently offers help in over 300 subject areas.

    7. Find Zovio Jobs Near Me

    8. Full Sail University

      Headquarters: Winter Park, Florida
      Stock Ticker: N/A
      Market Cap: N/A
      2021 Revenue: $200 million
      Net Income: N/A

      Full Sail University is a private, for-profit university that enrolls over 19,000 students.

      The school offers accredited master’s, bachelor’s, and associate’s degrees that mainly focus on design, computer animation, and audio.

      Students have the choice to take their courses fully-online or physically attend school at the university’s single campus in Winter Park, Florida.

      The campus includes a film backlot, multiple soundstages, and 110 studios.

      Full Sail University also owns a game studio called Blackmoor, named in honor of Dave Arneson, a professor who taught game design at the school.

      The school also opened a research laboratory in partnership with ESPN that focuses on developing new studio technologies.

      Full Sail opened an 11,200 square foot esports arena called The Fortress in 2019 that seats up to 500 spectators. The venue has been named among the top 10 collegiate esports venues by numerous publications.

    9. Find Full Sail University Jobs Near Me

    10. Hailiang Education Group

      Headquarters: Hangzhou, China
      Stock Ticker: HLG
      Market Cap: $1.55 billion
      2021 Revenue: $200 million
      Net Income: $149 million

      Hailiang Education Group is one of the largest providers of high, middle, and primary schooling in China.

      As of early 2021, the company’s many subsidiaries enroll a total of some 61,000 students across 36 schools.

      Most of the company’s schools are international and accept students from all across the world. They’re well known for the wide variety of language classes that students can choose from, including everything from English and Mandarin to Spanish and French.

      Hailiang’s schools also prepare students for important exams and courses from countries outside of China, such as:

      • SAT ACT

      • A-Levels

      • Australian Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

      • IELTS

      • TOEFL

      • International Mathematics Olympiad

      The company also establishes cooperative relationships with over 200 universities and educational institutions worldwide, enabling their students to enter numerous competitions and opportunities.

      Another notable element to many of Hailiang’s schools is their relatively high teacher-to-student ratios, allowing for one-on-one tutoring options for students who require individualized attention.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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