AUSTIN, TEX. (June 1, 2017) – Civitas Learning® today announced the addition of new social impact investors, including Lumina Foundation and Valhalla Charitable Foundation, to extend the effect of using learning data to improve higher education outcomes and graduate more students.
More than 300 colleges and universities, which serve approximately 30 percent of U.S. higher ed students, now partner with Civitas Learning. As one of the fastest growing ed tech startups, the company’s student success platform leverages a broad set of institutional data, including enrollment information, course grades student engagement, to inform and support decision-making for students, advisors, faculty and administrators.
“If we want outcomes for today’s students to change, we must change the way we approach student success and deliver support. Civitas Learning is focused on doing just that, and that’s exactly why we chose to invest in their work,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina Foundation President and CEO. “By investing in Civitas Learning through Lumina Impact Ventures, the Foundation’s impact investing arm that partners with leading mission-aligned social enterprises, we’re accelerating our collective progress toward graduating more students in U.S. higher education by 2025.”
John Duong, Director of Lumina Impact Ventures, will also join Civitas Learning’s National Advisory Board (NAB), which provides guidance and industry perspectives on trends from higher ed leaders, technologists and innovators. Additional NAB members include Adam Dell, Venture Partner at Austin Ventures; Dr. Vincent Tinto, award-winning author, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University and the former Chair of the Higher Education Program; Dr. Davis Jenkins, Senior Research Associate at Community College Research Center; Dr. Sally Johnstone, President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS); and Dr. George Siemens, Executive Director of the Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The Valhalla Charitable Foundation, which was founded by Signe Ostby and Scott Cook, co-founder and chairman of the Executive Committee of Intuit Inc., are also new Civitas Learning investors. This funding round was a continuation of Civitas Learning’s Series D funding. To date, the company has raised more than $70 million in capital.
Civitas Learning will use the social impact investments to enhance the platform’s personalized pathways and precision support solutions. These solutions inform and support how students make critical decisions throughout their educational journey and enable institutions to improve student outcomes by inspiring the right action, for the right student, at the right time. For example, by improving student pathways, Austin Community College saw an 11.1 percentage point improvement in persistence, which resulted in $1.2 million in retained revenue for the institution. El Paso Community College saw a 4.8 percentage point or higher increase in persistence among students who used the solution. The University of South Florida (USF) also saw impressive gains resulting from their partnership with Civitas Learning, including achieving a first-year persistence rate of 90 percent, which is the highest in USF history.
“We started Civitas Learning not as a software or an analytics company, but a company focused on generating outcomes in higher education,” said Charles Thornburgh, Civitas Learning founder and chief executive officer. “Powering outcomes at scale requires both reach and impact. While our reach has grown dramatically over the last several years, I am most excited about the unprecedented growth in the quantifiable impact our partners are achieving with our solutions. With the Lumina Impact Ventures and Valhalla Charitable Foundation investments, our institutional partners gain additional mission-oriented advocates working with us to improve and accelerate both learning and student results.”