About Us
About us

Preparing students for success

More than 300,000 students have enrolled in StraighterLine courses to help them reach their goal of a college degree—students who otherwise would have missed the opportunity to get their degree.

Our History

Built and managed by educators, StraighterLine offers solutions for colleges and universities to enroll better-prepared students and attract, retain, and graduate more students.

StraighterLine was founded in 2008 by Burck Smith as a solution to the rising costs of a college education. StraighterLine is the category creator for providing scalable solutions to deliver affordable, effective, and accelerated learning pathways to formal degree programs and widely recognized industry credentials.

The StraighterLine platform supports over 45,000 students a year, including directly through the website and through a growing network of college, university, and employer relationships. In partnership with more than 150 regionally accredited colleges and universities, we offer low-cost, low-risk online pathway programs for students to earn college credit and ultimately achieve their academic dreams.

Our Founders Story

Burck Smith
Burck Smith, Chairman & Founder

When the internet became a cultural phenomenon in the early 1990’s, Burck became interested in the social implications of internet access. This drove him to public policy graduate school where he asked the questions that would ultimately lead to StraighterLine, “In light of massive investments in technology in higher education and K-12, why have prices risen faster than inflation and student outcomes declined? If a technology is being used appropriately, it should result in lower prices, better outcomes or both. What’s different about education?”

In 1999, he co-founded SMARTHINKING (now a Pearson company), the largest online tutoring provider for schools and colleges. Burck’s passion to transform higher education didn’t stop there. Knowing there was more to be done, he founded StraighterLine in 2008. Today, Burck is a leading voice in education reform. He has written chapters for three books on education policy for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and is a former independent consultant and journalist. He also serves on the boards of Heliocampus, Akademos, Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, and Friends School of Baltimore.

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Resources are scarce. We have been very impressed with the ability and willingness of StraighterLine to work with us to craft a solution that is customized to the students we are seeking to serve.
– Dr. James Henderson, president and CEO | University of Louisiana


StraighterLine is not accredited as it is not a degree granting institution. However, all StraighterLine courses go through an intensive quality review process by ACE CREDIT prior to being available to students. ACE CREDIT has evaluated and recommended all StraighterLine courses for credit.

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See our student success stories

My advisor knew I had a goal...and he suggested that I take some of my courses through StraighterLine.

Tyisha B., Walden University graduate