Rockbridge Buys Northcentral University

Rockbridge Growth Equity has acquired Prescott Valley, Ariz.-based Northcentral University, an accredited online university with both undergraduate and graduate programs. No financial terms were disclosed.




Northcentral University (NCU), an accredited online university and innovator in 100 percent online higher education, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC ( Rockbridge will partner with Primus Capital (, a Cleveland-based Private Equity Fund with substantial education industry experience, to finance this acquisition. Financial details were not disclosed. “We are excited about our partnership with Rockbridge Growth Equity and the impact this association will have on the growth of NCU,” said NCU Founder Dr. Donald Hecht.


Founded in 1996, Northcentral University ( is a regionally accredited online university currently educating more than 7,500 students in a variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. Combining rigorous academics with the convenience of 100 percent online degree programs, NCU is focused primarily on graduate-level degrees, with 95 percent of its students enrolled in doctoral and master’s online degree programs.


NCU has grown substantially at an average annual growth rate of 47 percent since 2005. This growth is attributed to the high quality of its education and the flexibility afforded by NCU’s unique 100 percent online, one-on-one learning model.


Northcentral University will maintain its world headquarters in Prescott Valley, Arizona and no changes are planned in management or leadership. “Board Chairman Martin Gottlieb and all current board members are to be thanked for their valuable contributions during these negotiations, and will continue in their role as NCU board members,” stated Dr. Hecht.


As a 100-percent online university, NCU employs a variety of marketing strategies to acquire students and grow enrollment, with NCU students coming from all 50 states and 84 different countries. Privately held Rockbridge Growth Equity has a strategic relationship with Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online, direct-to-consumer mortgage lender, which has significant online marketing capability.


“We believe that with NCU’s talented management team and exceptional learning model, and our online marketing capabilities, we can build one of the industry-leaders in for-profit education,” Rockbridge Growth Equity Partner Kevin Prokop commented.


“Rockbridge Growth Equity brings a substantial amount of value to the table above and beyond providing capital. We are thrilled to work with them to help grow NCU into a leader in the for-profit, online education industry,” commented Dr. Clinton Gardner, NCU president.


About Northcentral University:

Founded in 1996, Northcentral University is a for-profit, 100 percent online higher education institution currently serving over 7,500 students worldwide. NCU ( offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the schools of Business and Technology Management, Education and Psychology. More than 94 percent of NCU faculty mentors have a terminal or doctoral degree and they all have significant practical experience in their field.


NCU focuses on customizing academic programs to each student’s professional interests while providing the convenience of accredited online degree programs. NCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. NCU’s School of Business and Technology Management was the first and only 100 percent online university to be accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).


About Rockbridge Growth Equity:

Rockbridge Growth Equity ( is a middle market private equity firm based in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. Rockbridge has $150 million of dedicated capital and is focused on middle-market transactions in the financial services, consumer-direct marketing, business services and sports, media & entertainment industries.


Collectively, the partners in Rockbridge have completed transactions with an aggregate value of more than $2 billion. Dan Gilbert, a founding partner of Rockbridge, is the majority owner of Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest direct-to-consumer internet-based mortgage lender. Rockbridge is affiliated with other leading businesses in its target sectors including Quicken Loans, One Reverse Mortgage, Title Source, ePrize, Veritix and the Cleveland Cavaliers.