2023 Franchise 500 Rank
N/R Not ranked last year
See the Full List
Initial investment
$69K - $98K
Units as of 2022
50 16.3% over 3 years

Class 101 was founded in 1998 by Thomas Pabin. Dissatisfied with working a regular 9-to-5 job as a financial advisor, Pabin decided he wanted to make his work helping others. While working with and guiding youth as a volunteer youth minister, Pabin discovered a severe need for professional college planning services and started Class 101. 

Pabin launched the business from his two-bedroom apartment and, through networking and word of mouth, his client base quickly grew. Today, there are over 40 franchises throughout the United States. Class 101 is continuing its search for new franchisees in the search for expansion.

Why You May Want to Start a Class 101 Franchise

Class 101 believes that every high school student should have a positive college experience. This process typically starts with ensuring that their families pay less out of their own pockets for an education. Class 101 offers one-on-one college planning sessions, ACT and SAT preparation classes, seminars, and organized campus visits for high school students. 

Teenagers may be less likely to listen to their parents when it comes to advice, including college planning. With Class 101, parents could have the peace of mind knowing they have a support system they can contact at any time, and the teens may see Class 101 as an advisor who's there to help them. 

A Class 101 franchise also helps kids improve ACT scores, write college entrance essays, and help teenagers realize standout skills or talents to set them apart from other applicants. The average Class 101 student applies to ten colleges and can receive thousands of dollars in scholarships and financial aid. 

What Might Make a Class 101 Franchise a Good Choice? 

Many Class 101 franchisees are parents, former educators, admission counselors, or businesspeople. Still, anyone with a passion for helping young people and their families on their paths toward college is welcome. Potential franchisees need to be flexible and willing to work afternoons or evenings to meet with teenagers. They should be articulate, organized, patient, and have strong communication skills. The Class 101 mission is to empower students, serve families, and inspire greatness. This should be completed through one-on-one counseling, events, and programs. 

The Class 101 home team is very supportive and available to answer any questions you may have throughout the setup process and as you run your Class 101 franchise. There will likely be several team meetings per month via phone, and franchisees are invited to attend multi-day training sessions at the home office in Lexington, Kentucky.

How To Open a Class 101 Franchise

To be part of the Class 101 team, you should make sure you're financially ready for an initial investment made up of a franchise fee and other startup costs. In addition, you should prepare yourself for ongoing fees that will include advertising, royalty, and potential renewal fees. However, being a part of the Class 101 family entitles you to a complete business, including marketing materials, updated curriculum, detailed operations manuals, and access to Class 101 podcasts and training videos. 

Before making any financial commitment or signing an agreement, you must perform your due diligence and establish if this is the right opportunity for you. As part of your due diligence, you may want to speak to existing franchisees and ask the Class 101 franchising team questions.

Find Your Perfect Franchise

Company Overview

About Class 101

Services (Other)
Related Categories
Miscellaneous Services, Tutoring
Parent Company
Unleashed Brands LLC
Tom Pabin, Brand President & CEO
Corporate Address
2350 Airport Fwy., #505
Bedford, TX 76022
Sponsored Content

More from Class 101

Help Students Find Their Future

Each year, millions of students head off to U.S. colleges and universities, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Each one of those rising college freshmen is a potential Class 101 client!

College planning is a multi-year process. Between meeting application deadlines, visiting schools and securing scholarships, there is a lot to do. Class 101 works with all students from 8th to 12th grades, creating a predictable, recurring revenue model for our franchise owners. We take the pressure off the parents by offering one-on-one college planning and providing the individual support that their high school student needs (siblings too)!

What Are The Results?

The average Class 101 student applies to 6-8 schools and earns $201,000 in scholarships and financial aid, while the typical non-Class 101 student applies to 2-3 schools and earns only $20,000 in scholarships and aid. On average, Class 101 students improve their SAT score by 170 points and their ACT score by 3.1 points.

“High schools have guidance counselors, not college counselors. Guidance counselors are working with students on their classes, social skills and family issues such as divorce, which all take away from college preparatory time,” says Class 101 Founder and CEO Tom Pabin. “It’s a numbers problem. They don’t have enough time to work with these kids — the top 10 maybe — but the other kids don’t get looked at or they get treated casually. We all know that casualness causes casualties. It’s what people don’t know that ends up killing them on financial aid.”

At each session, we work with students on setting goals and ensuring they are meeting all critical deadlines — from scholarship applications to submitting financial aid forms. We take the stress of the college application process off of parents and become a trusted mentor to students who are often more likely to listen to the expert guidance of a Class 101 counselor than to Mom or Dad.

The Need

The demand for college planning will continue to rise. The average college tuition and fee bill is 24% higher in 2019-20 at public four-year institutions than it was in 2009-2010, and it’s 20.2% higher in the private four-year sector, according to the College Board.

Class 101 is a simple, but highly effective, business model. “In year one of opening a business, we aim for 100 client referrals a year, with a goal of just 40 to 50 students,” says Tom Pabin, Brand President & CEO of Class 101.

The Offering

It doesn’t take long for word to spread among high school students about the great results that come from working with a Class 101 counselor. After a free initial consultation at the Class 101 office, our counselors meet one-on-one with college-bound students every 2-5 weeks, typically after school or on weekends, depending on the time of year and the grade level of the student. Parents are not present at the individual counseling sessions, although we are in constant communication with them about their child’s progress.

The 10 Services We Offer:

  1. Developing a College List
  2. Visiting Colleges
  3. Improving Grades
  4. ACT / SAT / PSAT Test Prep
  5. Upgrading Your Resume
  6. Crafting College Essays
  7. Managing Applications and Deadlines
  8. Exploring Scholarship Opportunities
  9. Pursuing Financial Aid (FAFSA)
  10. Transitioning to College

But it’s not just about getting into college, it’s about helping students find their future.

This Could Be You

The ideal Class 101 owner has a passion for working with young people and a heart for helping families save time and money during the college application process. They have a background in business or education, whether as a small business owner, an educator, a guidance counselor, or other similar work experience.

Other helpful attributes of a Class 101 franchise owner include:

  • Communication Skills ‐ As a Class 101 franchisee, you will be conducting seminars and communicating with students, parents, educators, and other business owners. We are looking for someone with strong speaking skills who can simplify the often confusing process of college planning.
  • Business Acumen ‐ A Class 101 franchisee needs to be business-minded. Ideally, we are looking for someone who can manage a business effectively and successfully.
  • Impeccable Organization ‐ Keeping track of client schedules, deadlines and other critical data requires someone with excellent organizational skills.
  • Patience and A Heart for Teens ‐ Having the patience to work with teens to set goals and make positive, incremental changes is a plus. At the core of everything we do is a passion for helping young people find their future.

Ready to help students find their future? Learn more at class101franchise.com.

Business Overview

Franchising Since
2007 (16 years)
# of employees at HQ
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchisees throughout the US.

# of Units
50 (as of 2022)

Information for Franchisees

Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Class 101 franchise.

Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees

Here’s what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.

Initial Franchise Fee
Initial Investment
$68,900 - $97,900
Net Worth Requirement
$75,000 - $125,000
Cash Requirement
$50,000 - $100,000
Veteran Incentives
10% off franchise fee
Royalty Fee
Ad Royalty Fee
Term of Agreement
8 years
Is franchise term renewable?

Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

Third Party Financing
Class 101 has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll

Training & Support Offered

Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.

On-The-Job Training
24 hours
Classroom Training
33 hours
Ongoing Support
Purchasing Co-ops
Meetings & Conventions
Grand Opening
Security & Safety Procedures
Lease Negotiation
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed?
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Can this franchise be run part time?
Are exclusive territories available?

Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where Class 101 landed on this year’s Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

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The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise or business opportunity by Entrepreneur Media. Our listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare opportunities. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise or business opportunity. That should include reviewing the company’s legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees/licensees/dealers.
Updated: December 12th, 2022