A partnership with an international private school group means 45,000 more students may soon be sold Crimson Consulting’s Ivy League dream – provided their parents can pay up to $20,000 for the privilege.
The group, Inspired Education, has New Zealand’s ACG Group of schools as a member, and also operates in Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
Under the partnership, students will get free access to Crimson’s video library and app, which contains a ‘road map’ to university applications, and a 20 per cent discount will be offered to families for Crimson’s other services.
ACG Group runs four schools in New Zealand: ACG Parnell College, ACG Tauranga, ACG Strathallan and ACG Sunderland.
Crimson tutoring is normally worth $80 an hour, while targeted support packages range from $5000 to $30,000, chief executive Jamie Beaton said.
Jamie Beaton is the co-founder and chief executive of Crimson Consulting.
The Kiwi education company, founded in 2013, touts its ability to get students into top-rated universities and access financial packages in the US, boasting it’s gained clients US$65 million in financial aid scholarships.
It claims in six years it has helped students get almost 200 offers to Ive League colleges like Harvard and Yale.
Auckland-raised co-founder Beaton attended both Harvard and Stamford. He founded the company with partner Sharndre Kushor.
The fast-expanding company (it bought out a number of rival tutoring businesses including NumberWorks’nWords and has faced legal action from one unhappy buyout partner) has a hefty cast of investors including billionaire hedge fund manager Julian Roberston, and more recently former prime minister Sir John Key.
* The business class: tips on how to grow your small business
* ‘Life changing’ scholarship for student who wants to be the first Kiwi in space
* Awards to help outstanding students get into top US and UK universities
Beaton holds a little over 30 per cent of Crimson’s shares with Robertson the next biggest shareholder at 17 per cent.
The partnership was an opportunity for continued global growth, Beaton said, but he would not say how much it was worth.
Crimson will work alongside career counsellors at the schools to provide a network of advisors for students taking advantage of the discount, Beaton said.
The partnership was a fusion of its online and offline services, existing college counselling infrastructure and the “brilliant academic firepower” of the schools, he said.
“The school actually has full visibility of the app. Rather than us being outside of the school and working with students privately, this brings us together to accelerate student’s access to Crimson’s platform,” he said.
Beaton said the deal was the first of its kind in terms of education partnerships in New Zealand.
“You might have an in-school ACG guidance counsellor and at the same time you could have a student at Harvard helping you with your application to Harvard. You could have a sports coach helping you with your recruit athlete placement, you could have an SAT tutor helping you with SAT.”
Inspired chief executive Nadim Nsouli said Crimson’s tailored approach to the university application process would add to the Inspired offering.
Crimson Consulting helps students achieve admission to esteemed universities like Oxford University in England.
“As a group of schools dedicated to setting up each and every one of our students for a lifetime of success, we look forward to providing our students the opportunity to further strengthen their chances of getting into the best global universities.”
Crimson has come in for criticism in recent months in New Zealand media for what have been termed “weighty contracts” that lock families in even if a student decides not to apply to an overseas school.
A sales playbook was also leaked which advised Crimson reps not to pursue clients unlikely to spend under $30,000 with the firm.
From left: Jhett Koo, Fangzhou Jiang and Sharndre Kushor of education consultancy Crimson Consulting.
Beaton said Crimson was “very clear” with families that university admission in the United States was a rigorous, four year process that required a lot of effort. He defended his company’s record, and said Crimson students got into overseas schools at around four times the normal rate.
“Of course if something happens, medical reasons where the family can no longer pursue overseas study, then of course we support them reaching another pathway.”
Students could switch their credit into other options and in some cases it would refund the family if they couldn’t find anything useful, Beaton said.
If a student decided they no longer wanted to pursue university study?
“Of course we would refund them,” he said.