Thomson said last October that it planned to sell the division, and analysts had said the sale could fetch about $5 billion. The company said on Friday that it expected the deal to close in the third quarter.
Cash from the sale will be crucial as the electronic publisher seeks to take control of news and financial services provider Reuters in a deal that would be worth about 8.6 billion pounds ($17 billion). The new company, Thomson-Reuters, would be the world's biggest financial news and data company.
Shares of Thomson and Reuters rose.
Thomson, whose publishing interests span law, tax and scientific research, has been beefing up its financial data business as it looks to tap into booming global markets.
The company, controlled by the Thomson family, said it signed agreements with funds advised by Apax Partners and OMERS Capital Partners to sell the higher education, careers and library reference assets of Thomson Learning.
A consortium of funds advised by the two firms would also buy Nelson Canada, which provides educational books and online resources.