Kaplan, Inc.

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Kaplan, Inc.
Industry Education
Founded 1938
Founder Stanley Kaplan
Headquarters Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Key people
Andrew Rosen, Chairman and CEO
Revenue US$ 2.1 billion (2014)[1]
Parent Graham Holdings Company
Divisions Test Preparation, Higher and Professional Education, International
Slogan Helping individuals achieve their education and career goals, one success story at a time.
Website Kaplan.com
Midtown Manhattan

Kaplan, Inc. is a for-profit corporation headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida[2] and founded in 1938 by Stanley Kaplan.[3] Kaplan provides higher education programs, professional training courses, test preparation materials and other services for various levels of education.[1] It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company, formerly known as The Washington Post Company.


Kaplan is a for-profit subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company. Its Chairman and CEO is Andrew Rosen. Its 2014 revenue was $2.1 billion.[1]

Stanley H. Kaplan, the founder of the company, died of a heart ailment on August 23, 2009 when he was 90 years of age.[4]


Kaplan Higher and Professional Education[edit]

Kaplan Higher and Professional Education is a group of institutions that offer classroom and online certificate and degree programs in fields such as criminal justice, health care, business, information technology and legal studies. Iowa College Acquisition Corporation, operating under the Kaplan University brand,[5] also offers online programs.[6]

Kaplan University specializes in online education, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and holds other programmatic accreditations. Most of Kaplan University’s programs are offered online, while some are offered in a traditional classroom format at 11 campuses in Iowa, Maine, Maryland and Nebraska, and four Kaplan University Learning Centers in four states. At year-end 2013, Kaplan University had approximately 36,500 students enrolled in online programs and approximately 6,400 students enrolled in its classroom-based programs.

Due to student loan default rates, the U.S. Department of Education has criticized for-profit institutions, with the Secretary of Education asserting that "too many for-profit schools are saddling students with debt they cannot afford in exchange for degrees and certificates they cannot use." For fiscal year 2009, Kaplan's students were more likely to default on their loans than their community college counterparts, with 17.3 percent of Kaplan University students overall not repaying loans on time.[7] In response, Kaplan Higher Education has set up the "Kaplan Commitment" program, which allows prospective students to attend the first few sessions of a course free, to decide if it meets their needs and abilities, before taking on a financial obligation.[8] The policy, however, is too new to reveal an impact on graduation and retention rates.[7]

In October 2012, Kaplan closed nine of its campuses and consolidated four others into nearby locations. Although the company did not give a reason for shuttering these locations, an August 2012 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed that an accrediting commission had warned that its campuses in Baltimore, Indianapolis and Dayton could lose their accreditation for failure to meet student achievement requirements. Loss of accreditation meant that Kaplan students would no longer be eligible for the federal student aid that makes up more than 80 percent of Kaplan’s revenues. This occurred among growing negative publicity about for-profits schools who enrolled students who had almost no chance of succeeding in order to get their federal student aid. Kaplan and the University of Phoenix announced new programs, offering some form of free trial to ensure that they enrolled only students who had a reasonable likelihood of success, which cut substantially into their enrollment numbers.[9]

Kaplan University also includes the fully online Concord Law School, which is not recognized by the American Bar Association (which does not accredit online institutions), and graduates of the programs are eligible to take the California Bar Exam, given that it is the only state in which online law schools can officially register.[10][11]

Also residing within Kaplan University is the School of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE). PACE assists professionals in advancing their careers by obtaining professional licenses, designations, and certifications, including the insurance, securities, mortgage and appraisal licensing exams, and for advanced designations, such as CFA® and CPA exams. PACE serves more than 3,100 business-to-business clients. In 2013, approximately 482,000 students used PACE’s exam preparation offerings.

Kaplan International[edit]

Kaplan International operates businesses in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.[12]

In Europe, Kaplan International operates the following businesses, all of which are based in the U.K. and Ireland: Kaplan UK, Kaplan International Colleges (KIC), and a set of higher education institutions.

  • The Kaplan UK business in Europe is a provider of training, test preparation services and degrees for accounting and financial services professionals, including those studying for ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW qualifications. In addition, Kaplan UK provides legal and professional training, including the operation of a U.K. law school in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University’s Nottingham Law School. In 2013, Kaplan UK provided courses to approximately 65,000 students, of whom 48,000 were dedicated to accounting and financial services coursework. Kaplan UK is headquartered in London, England, and has 27 training centers located throughout the U.K.
  • The KIC business comprises a university pathways business and an English-language training business. The university pathways business offers academic preparation programs for international students who wish to study in English-speaking countries. In 2013, university preparation programs were being delivered in Australia, China, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S., servicing 12,000 students in partnership with 50 universities.
  • The English-language business provides English-language training, academic preparation programs and test preparation for English proficiency exams, principally for students wishing to study and travel in English-speaking countries. KIC operates a total of 42 English-language schools, with 21 located in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and 21 located in the U.S., where they operate under the name Kaplan International Centers. During 2013, the English-language business served approximately 59,000 students for in-class English language instruction provided by Kaplan.
  • Kaplan also operates three higher education institutions in Europe, located in the U.K. and Ireland. These institutions are Dublin Business School, Holborn College and Kaplan Open Learning. At the end of 2013, these institutions enrolled an aggregate of approximately 7,100 students.

In the Asia Pacific region, Kaplan operates businesses primarily in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and China:

  • In Singapore, Kaplan operates three business units: Kaplan Higher Education, Kaplan Financial and Kaplan Professional. During 2013, the Higher Education and Financial divisions served more than 18,000 students from Singapore and 3,000 students from other countries throughout Asia. Kaplan Professional provided short courses to approximately 15,000 trainees in 2013.
  • In Australia, Kaplan delivers financial services education and professional development courses. In 2013, this business provided courses to approximately 11,500 students through classroom programs and to more than 50,400 students through online or distance-learning programs.
  • In Hong Kong, Kaplan offers programs ranging from language education and standardized test preparation to corporate and financial training and higher education degree courses. During 2013, Kaplan’s Hong Kong business provided courses to approximately 8,000 students.
  • In China, in addition to university preparation programs, Kaplan delivers A-Level programs and cooperates with several Chinese universities to provide ACCA training programs to students.

Kaplan Test Prep[edit]

Established in 1938, Kaplan Test Prep sells preparation materials for standardized tests through tutoring, on-site classes, asynchronous and live programs, print books, and digital products. With programs for individuals, schools, and businesses, Kaplan Test Prep offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests. These include admissions tests for secondary school, college, and graduate school, such as the SAT, ACT, Law School Admission Test (LSAT), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Dental Admission Test (DAT), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Optometry Admission Test (OAT), Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) and others. Kaplan also provides preparation for professional licensing exams include state-specific and Multi-State Bar Review for attorneys, USMLE and COMLEX prep for physicians, and NCLEX prep for nurses. Kaplan Test Prep also licenses material for some of its courses to third parties and a Kaplan affiliate, which, during 2010, offered courses at over 64 locations in 21 countries outside the U.S.[13] During 2013, KTP enrolled approximately 415,000 students in its courses, including more than 170,000 enrolled in online programs.[14]


Kaplan was founded in 1938 by Stanley H. Kaplan, who started the business by tutoring students for the New York State Regents Exam in the basement of his parents' Brooklyn home.[15] He eventually opened locations around the country. In 1984, Kaplan sold the company to The Washington Post Company, which centralized control. The company grew significantly in the 1990s by expanding its business and purchasing other test preparation and educational companies.[16] The company's leader during this expansion period was Jonathan Grayer.


Major acquisitions since 1995 include:[17]

  • 1995 - Thompson Institute, in Harrisburg, PA, becomes Kaplan Career Institute [18]
  • 1996 – Score, a network of after-school tutoring centers based in California with locations around the country
  • 1998 – Dearborn Publishing, a publisher of professional training books in Chicago and owner of Anthony Schools in California
  • 2000 – Quest Education Corporation, a network of for profit schools with 30 locations that brought Kaplan into the higher education industry
  • 2003 – The Financial Training Company, a provider of accounting and financial service training based in London with operations in Asia
  • 2003 – Dublin Business School, a university in Ireland that offers undergraduate and postgraduate business and liberal arts programs
  • 2004 – Two Sawyer College campuses: Hammond, Indiana and Merrillville, Indiana.
  • 2005 – Asia Pacific Management Institute (now Kaplan Singapore), a Higher Education company providing Diploma to Doctoral degrees offered by different universities. [19]
  • 2006 – Tribeca Learning, a financial services and real estate training provider based in Australia
  • 2006 – Aspect Education, now Kaplan International English, a provider of English language instruction based in the U.K.
  • 2007 – FINSIA Education, a provider of financial services training.
  • 2007 – EduNeering Inc., a provider in compliance and knowledge management solutions.
  • 2011 – Structuralia, a provider of training and education in Spain.
  • 2011 – Carrick Education Group, a leading vocational and higher education provider in Australia.
  • 2011 – Franklyn Scholar, a national provider of work-based vocational training in Australia.
  • 2012 – Academy, a focused corporate training and organisational development services provider
  • 2012 - beo Japan, a Japanese study-abroad student recruitment agency
  • 2012 - Hands-On Consulting, a Thai study-abroad student recruitment agency
  • 2014 - Dev Bootcamp, a web development bootcamp

In 2013 and 2014, Kaplan partnered with TechStars to create the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, which hosted, mentored, and funded startup companies focused on education technology and product innovation for a three-month program in New York City.[20] The 22 startups that participated raised more than $15 million.[21]


In 2007 Kaplan agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that had been brought against Kaplan and BarBri, a company offering a widely used bar exam preparation course. Among the allegations in the suit, which charged that BarBri had overcharged students, was an allegation of federal antitrust violation claiming that Kaplan had agreed not to compete in the bar review business while BarBri agreed it would not compete in the LSAT business. Both West Publishing Company (parent of BarBri) and Kaplan denied the allegations and the matter was resolved without any findings of wrongdoing, with BarBri and Kaplan paying $30 million to the class claimants.[22]

In 2015, Kaplan settled with the United States Department of Justice regarding allegations that it hired instructors who were not qualified. 289 former students of Kaplan will receive tuition refunds as part of the settlement, in which Kaplan admitted no liability.[23]


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