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FILE PHOTO: The company logo is displayed outside the Pearson offices in London

SCIENCE & TECH: Delta variant hit U.S. community college enrolment, Pearson says



FILE PHOTO: The company logo is displayed outside the Pearson offices in London, Britain August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

October 15, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) -Global education group Pearson said it believed enrolments at community colleges in the United States had been hit by the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and a tight labour market, putting students off.

The British company, which said it was on track to meet market expectations for the full year, said it had however been boosted by demand for virtual schools, while more than two million people signed up for its new Pearson+ app.

“While no market data for the full back to school period is available as yet, Pearson’s internal analysis indicates a decline in enrolments, particularly in community colleges, following a surge in COVID-19 infections in the key back to school period, and a strengthening of the U.S. labour market,” it said.

The British company, repositioning itself as a consumer-facing group offering training and skills for life beyond its core schools and college remit, said it had seen a 9% decline in U.S. Higher Education Courseware.

In comparison its Virtual Learning division enjoyed revenue growth of 14%, reflecting enrolment growth at Virtual Schools.

As a group, it reiterated its full-year outlook after underlying revenue rose by 10% for the nine months of the year. That was down from first-half growth of 17%, due to a tough third-quarter comparison, it said.

(Reporting by Kate Holton, Editing by Paul Sandle)





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