For-profit

EAB

Website:

eab.com

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

82-2931750

Founded:

2007

CEO:

David Felsenthal

EAB is a consulting firm that conducts research on the efficacy of school operations and advances left-progressive ideology in educational institutions nationwide. The company was founded in 2007 as the Education Advisory Board, a division of the Advisory Board Company, and shortened its name to EAB in 2014. [1] It split from the Advisory Board Company after being acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2017. [2]

Mission

Using its educational consulting services, EAB also promotes Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice initiatives (referred to alternately as DEIJ, DE&I, or DEI), in which race and race-related factors are taken into account in every aspect of the student experience in college. [3]

The definition of DEIJ posted on EAB’s website includes validating alternative viewpoints and advancing the left-progressive concept of bias. [4] EAB encourages employees to express “their whole selves” at work, particularly those in the LGBT community. [5] The company was featured on the Human Rights Campaign‘s “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality 2022” and has employee resource groups centered around “diverse employees” such as LGBT individuals, women, and people of color. [6] [7]

Strategy

EAB’s strategy for bringing the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice agenda into schools includes advocating for changes to traditional grading practices. [8] A 2021 blog post by EAB associate director Margaret Sullivan criticized traditional grading as restricting the academic advancement of “underprivileged” students and promoting “grading biases.” Sullivan outlined “equitable grading practices” which would do away with core criteria such as completion of assignments. She emphasized that schools should adopt these objectives to “proactively signal a clear commitment toward DEIJ.” [9]

Further steps to inculcating the DEIJ agenda on campuses include the EAB DEIJ Resources Center, which curates resources for institutes of higher education to combat alleged “racist systems of oppression.” [10] EAB’s Way Forward Initiative, funded by Bank of America, has partnered with multiple historically black colleges and universities and Native American tribal colleges to transform their campuses into DEIJ-compliant institutions, including “leadership training, on-demand market research” and working with partners to advance DEIJ strategies. [11]

EAB directly engages with minority students through its College Greenlight initiative. The goal is to increase the number of non-white students who attend institutes of higher education. [12] EAB’s methods of advancing minority admissions include encouraging institutions to make standardized testing optional for admission. [13] A 2022 EAB survey showed that high school students, especially minority students, are increasingly choosing to attend colleges without an ACT or SAT requirement. [14]

As of June 2022, EAB does not allow access to its “vast library” of research for individuals without an EAB account. [15] Reports behind a member wall include “Hallmarks of an Antiracist Institution: The Behaviors and Actions that Promote Racial Justice in Education,” and “Compendium of inclusive tenure and promotion policy.” [16]

The company’s various activities, from its main work on campuses to work culture and community outreach, “are deliberately linked” to promote DEIJ values in as many spheres as possible. [17]

Business Model

Parent Companies

The Advisory Board Company was founded in 1979 by David G. Bradley. Initially, it focused on financial research, but branched into healthcare and clinical research in 1986. The company founded the Educational Advisory Board (EAB) in 2007 as its first foray into education. [18] In 2017, the Advisory Board Company split up and sold EAB to Vista Equity Partners for $1.55 billion. [19]

Vista Equity Partners is a private investment firm with a portfolio of enterprise software companies. [20] [21] It was founded in 2000 by philanthropist Robert F. Smith and has more than $93 billion in assets as of June 2022. [22] [23] Vista espouses environmental, social and governance (ESG)  practices and DEIJ initiatives to advance left-progressive narratives on climate change and minorities. [24] [25]

Vista owns a large collection of educational software companies. In 2015, it purchased K-12 platform PowerSchool for $350 million, and holds a 50% stake in higher education platform Ellucian. [26] [27] Vista also owns Pipeline Analytics, an artificial intelligence that predicts which students are likely to “apply, accept and attend institutions.” [28]

Vista and EAB’s involvement in student data collection has raised concerns from parents and educators, according to a 2022 article from The Markup. The oversight journalism nonprofit outlined criticisms of demographic student success predictors used by Vista-owned platform PowerSchool and EAB’s student success management system Navigate. Parents were concerned that their children’s data were being manipulated behind the scenes without their consent. As of January 2022, one Colorado mother could not obtain her children’s full data records from Navigate even after bringing legal action against the company. [29]

Vista Equity Partners and BC Partners are EAB’s primary sources of funding. BC Partners, a London-based private equity firm with over €161 billion in holdings, acquired a 50% stake in EAB in 2021. [30] [31] Similarly to Vista, BC supports left-progressive ESG initiatives. [32]

Services

EAB provides technology platforms and advisory services to more than 2,500 educational institutes from K-12 schools through graduate school. [33] It has grown its offerings through purchases of existing student technology platforms, including:

  • A $90 million acquisition of engagement firm Starfish in 2021. [34]
  • Virtual campus tour platform YouVisit, which as of May 2022 is featured under every section on their website’s Solutions page. [35] [36]
  • Cappex, which helps students to research colleges and scholarships. [37]
  • Wisr, which allows students to speak directly to faculty and other students at colleges they are interested in. [38]

EAB also launched the data platform Edify in 2021 to consolidate student data from multiple institutions. [39] Another EAB project, Intersect, connects with information platform Naviance, which is reportedly “in use by 41% of all U.S. high school students” and provides information about colleges and scholarships. [40] EAB’s advisory service platforms include Enroll360, a marketing campaign manager for institutes of higher education. [41]

EAB’s student success management system (SSMS) Navigate provides more than 850 partner institutions with software applications for students and staff to organize their time. [42] Its predictive model which measures students as “high risk” or “low risk” for dropping out of school has been criticized for using demographic information to keep minorities out of STEM majors. [43]

Leadership

David Felsenthal has been the chief executive officer of EAB since 2017. He became involved with the Advisory Board Company in 2001. After EAB’s founding in 2007, Felsenthal was in various high-level roles in the company, including chief operating officer and president. Felsenthal was promoted to his current position as CEO when EAB separated from the Advisory Board Company in 2017. [44] [45]

Catherine Ewell has been senior vice president of Partner Success at EAB since 2016. Her EAB profile states that she previously worked “for over 20 years in healthcare and education.” She also serves as executive sponsor for EAB’s LGBT employee resource group, [email protected], where she works to further the company’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” agenda. [46]

Sally Amoruso serves as chief partner officer for EAB. Amoruso held multiple executive positions within the Advisory Board Company before 1999. She then worked for the Corporate Executive Board, ran a network of medical spas, and worked as president of a medical weight loss program. In 2014, she returned to the Advisory Board Company as a general manager and stayed with EAB after the companies split in 2017. Amoruso then worked as executive principal until her appointment as chief partner officer in 2019. [47] [48]

References

  1. “About.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/about/ ^
  2. Rhea Kelly. “EAB to Split from The Advisory Board Company.” Campus Technology. August 29, 2017. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/08/29/eab-to-split-from-the-advisory-board-company.aspx?s=ct_in_010917 ^
  3. “Advancing DE&I in Education and Beyond.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/dei/ ^
  4. “Diversity and Inclusion.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/careers/diversity-and-inclusion/ ^
  5. “Diversity and Inclusion.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/careers/diversity-and-inclusion/ ^
  6. “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality 2022.” Human Rights Campaign. Accessed June 11, 2022.

    https://www.hrc.org/resources/best-places-to-work-for-lgbtq-equality-2022 ^

  7. “Diversity and Inclusion.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/careers/diversity-and-inclusion/ ^
  8. “Advancing DE&I in Education and Beyond.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/dei/ ^
  9. Margaret Sullivan. “Why equitable grading policies matter more than district leaders may think.” EAB. November 15, 2021. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/insights/expert-insight/district-leadership/why-equitable-grading-policies-matter/ ^
  10. “The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Resource Center.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/research/strategy/resource-center/diversity-equity-inclusion-and-justice-initiatives-in-higher-education/ ^
  11. “Way Forward Initiative.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/way-forward-initiative/ ^
  12. “College Greenlight.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/College-Greenlight-1-Pager-for-Colleges.pdf ^
  13. Margaret Sullivan. “Why equitable grading policies matter more than district leaders may think.” EAB. November 15, 2021. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/insights/expert-insight/district-leadership/why-equitable-grading-policies-matter/ ^
  14. “Survey of 5k Gen Z Students Highlights DEI Impact of Test-Optional Admissions.” EAB. June 1, 2022. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/insights/press-release/enrollment/survey-highlights-dei-impact-test-optional-admissions/ ^
  15. “Register.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/register/ ^
  16. “Research and Insights.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/research-and-insights/ ^
  17. “Social Impact.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/careers/corporate-citizenship/ ^
  18. “Our Story: Built on a foundation of 40 years of research.” Advisory Board. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://www.advisory.com/our-history ^
  19. Divya Grover. “Advisory Board to sell healthcare, education units in $2.58 billion deal.” Reuters. August 29, 2017. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-advisory-bd-co-divestiture/advisory-board-to-sell-healthcare-education-units-in-2-58-billion-deal-idUSKCN1B91DY ^
  20. “Portfolio.” Accessed June 11, 2022. Vista Equity Partners. https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/companies/portfolio/ ^
  21. “Approach.” Vista Equity Partners. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/companies/approach/ ^
  22.  “About.” Vista Equity Partners. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/about/ ^
  23. “Strategies.” Vista Equity Partners. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/strategies/ ^
  24. “Environmental, Social and Governance Practices.” Vista Equity Partners. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/esg/ ^
  25. “Social Engagement.” Vista Equity Partners. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/esg/social-engagement/ ^
  26. Todd Feathers. “This Private Equity Firm Is Amassing Companies That Collect Data on America’s Children.” The Markup. January 11, 2022. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://themarkup.org/machine-learning/2022/01/11/this-private-equity-firm-is-amassing-companies-that-collect-data-on-americas-children ^
  27. “Higher Education Technology Company Ellucian to be Acquired by Blackstone and Vista Equity Partners.” Businesswire. June 14, 2021. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210614005429/en/Higher-Education-Technology-Company-Ellucian-to-be-Acquired-by-Blackstone-and-Vista-Equity-Partners ^
  28. “Improving The Higher Education Enrollment Process.” Vista Equity Partners. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/case_study/improving-the-higher-education-enrollment-process/ ^
  29. Todd Feathers. “This Private Equity Firm Is Amassing Companies That Collect Data on America’s Children.” The Markup. January 11, 2022. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://themarkup.org/machine-learning/2022/01/11/this-private-equity-firm-is-amassing-companies-that-collect-data-on-americas-children ^
  30. “BC Partners Joins Vista Equity Partners as an Investor in EAB.” BC Partners. May 10,2021. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://www.bcpartners.com/news/bc-partners-joins-vista-equity-partners-as-an-investor-in-eab ^
  31. “EAB.” BC Partners. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://www.bcpartners.com/private-equity-strategy/portfolio/eab ^
  32. “Responsibility.” BC Partners. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://www.bcpartners.com/about/responsibility ^
  33. “Our Solutions.” EAB. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://eab.com/products/ ^
  34. Tony Wan. “Hobsons’ Higher Ed Business Split and Sold in Separate Deals Totaling $410M.” EdSurge. February 20, 2021. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2021-02-20-hobsons-higher-ed-business-split-and-sold-in-separate-deals-totaling-410m ^
  35. “EAB Acquires Leading Interactive Content Provider YouVisit.” EAB. December 4, 2019 Accessed June 12, 2022. https://eab.com/about/newsroom/press/youvisit/ ^
  36. “Our Solutions.” EAB. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://eab.com/products/ ^
  37. “EAB Acquires Cappex, a Leading College Research and Decision Platform.” EAB. September 9, 2020. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://eab.com/insights/press-release/enrollment/cappex-acquisition/ ^
  38. “EAB Acquires Student Engagement Technology Company Wisr.” EAB. March 10, 2021. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://eab.com/insights/press-release/enrollment/eab-acquires-wisr/ ^
  39. “EAB Launches New Education Data Platform Called ‘Edify.’” EAB. April 20, 2021. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://eab.com/insights/press-release/it/eab-launches-education-data-platform/ ^
  40. “Intersect.” EAB. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://eab.com/products/intersect/ ^
  41. “Enroll360.” EAB. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://eab.com/products/enroll360/ ^
  42. “Navigate.” EAB. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://eab.com/products/navigate/ ^
  43. Todd Feathers. “Major Universities Are Using Race as a “High Impact Predictor” of Student Success.” The Markup. March 2, 2021. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://themarkup.org/machine-learning/2021/03/02/major-universities-are-using-race-as-a-high-impact-predictor-of-student-success ^
  44. “David Felsenthal.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-felsenthal-756b877 ^
  45. “David Felsenthal.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/expert/david-felsenthal/ ^
  46. “Catherine Ewell.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/expert/catherine-ewell/ ^
  47. “Sally Amoruso.” EAB. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://eab.com/expert/sally-amoruso/ ^
  48. “Sally Amoruso.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 11, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sally-amoruso?original_referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F ^
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EAB


Washington, DC