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

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sterling 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, Inc., 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 solutions.

“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 or

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