Kathleen Van Milligen

The Franchisee

Van Milligen

The Franchise: Sylvan Learning Inc., a Baltimore, Maryland-based franchise, provides tutoring services for reading, writing, math, study skills and test preparation at more than 600 brick-and-mortar locations and 150 satellite locations.

August 1994

After spending her career working in the corporate world, Kathleen Van Milligen begins looking for an opportunity to put her English undergraduate degree and master’s in business administration to use. She attends a “discovery day” at Sylvan’s headquarters in Baltimore to learn more about the franchise.    

September 1994

Van Milligen buys in to the franchise. She looks at several locations within the franchise territory, which includes Brookfield, Muskego, New Berlin, Waukesha and Wauwatosa.

“We decided Brookfield was the best place, the most central location,” Van Milligen said.

January 1995 

Van Milligen opens Sylvan’s Brookfield location.   

“When we started, we were serving as young as kindergarten up to high school and we did reading, writing, math and study skills,” Van Milligen said. “Now in today’s market, we still do beginning reading, but our students are as young as 4 and we help college students; a lot of ACT and SAT prep now at the high school level. There is so much more to learn today.”

September 2006

The business moves to its current location at 15060 W. Greenfield Ave.


Van Milligen has about 30 part-time employees who work with students coming from across the region. After 23 years in business, Van Milligen has begun to see students return to Sylvan, now as parents.     

“The best thing is when you have a new student come in and they say they came because their aunt came here or their sibling came here or a friend came here and they felt so comfortable and confident in you that they sent them here,” Van Milligen said.

The franchise fee

The cost of purchasing the franchise rights to a new Sylvan territory is $24,000. To purchase a new territory and complete a build-out, the cost ranges between $59,000 and $160,000.

No posts to display