Laureate International Universities
|Founder||Douglas L. Becker|
|Headquarters||Baltimore, MD, U.S.|
|North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa|
Number of employees
Laureate International Universities are the for-profit universities and colleges owned and operated by Laureate Education, of Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. By 2014, the company owned and operated more than 80 institutions, both campus-based and online, in 30 countries, with total student enrollment of more than 800,000 students.
The company, Laureate Education, was founded by Douglas L. Becker. The company was originally created by Sylvan Learning Systems in 1998 as an operational division to focus on post-secondary institutions and called Sylvan International Universities. When the division was created, Sylvan was a public company primarily focused on educational services for students in primary and secondary education through company owned and franchise locations.
The company’s first investment was Spain’s Universidad Europea de Madrid in 1999, quickly followed by investments in post-secondary institutions in Mexico's Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC), Universidad del Valle de México, Chile's Universidad de las Américas and Switzerland's Les Roches International School of Hotel Management and its first investment in online higher education, Walden University in the United States.
The first acquisition of Laureate Education, Inc., at that time known as Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., was of 54% of Universidad de Europea de Madrid, which had about 6,000 students, for $51 million in 1999. In 2000 Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, Universidad de Las Américas in Chile and Universidad del Valle de México were acquired.
In March 2003, Sylvan Learning Systems decided to focus exclusively on post-secondary education. The company sold the K-12 business units, as well as the Sylvan name and trademark, to a new company, Educate, Inc., formed by Apollo Management. In 2004, Sylvan changed its name to Laureate Education, Inc, to reflect the change in focus.
In 2007, the company was acquired by an investor group led by Douglas Becker. By 2010 the company owned more than 50 institutions, both campus-based and online, in 21 countries, with a total enrollment of about 550,000 students. In 2010, former U.S. President Bill Clinton became the "honorary chancellor" of the network, for an undisclosed compensation.
In January 2013, the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, made a $150 million equity investment in Laureate to expand access to quality higher education in emerging markets.
Coursera, a provider of massive online open courses, announced in July 2013 that it raised $43 million in investments from a group that included Laureate Education, Inc., the World Bank’s investment arm, LearnCapital Venture Partners, GSV Capital and venture capitalist Yuri Milner. 
Arizona-based Thunderbird School of Global Management announced a partnership with Laureate in March 2013 to set up a joint venture that will provide capital support to Thunderbird to open multiple international instruction sites and expand its executive education and online programs.
In December 2013, Laureate announced that its shareholders elected three independent directors: Robert B. Zoellick, former World Bank president; Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; and George Muñoz, principal of the Muñoz Investment Banking Group.
Amid much controversy, Bill Clinton has been an honorary chancellor of Laureate.  In April 2015, Clinton ended his ties with Laureate after being paid $16 million and amidst ongoing financial problems at four of its six U.S.-based universities.
Clinton appeared at the Laureate Summit on Youth & Jobs at Universidad Europea de Madrid in 2013, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas in 2013, Université Internationale de Casablanca in 2013, European University Cyprus in 2012, Universidad del Valle de México in 2012, Walden University’s 2011 commencement ceremony, Istanbul Bilgi University in 2010 and INTI in 2010.
According to the Washington Post "Laureate is backed by several of the biggest names in finance, including Henry Kravis, George Soros, Steve Cohen and Paul Allen."  Laureate’s annual revenue is approximately $4 billion. The company holds $3.5 billion in debt. Laureate spends in excess of $200 million per year on advertising, including television commercials, online campaigns and billboards. Laureate Education is highly dependent on adjunct faculty and contingent labor. For example, more than 90 percent of Walden’s faculty is employed on a part-time basis.
The Sylvan/Laureate Foundation was created in 1997 as a non-profit foundation to provide education, training and community support.
Students from many of the network institutions have participated in the Clinton Global Initiative University, including students from Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, Universidade Potiguar, INTI International College, INTI International University, Universidad del Valle de México, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Istanbul Bilgi University, Stamford International University, Walden University, Université Internationale de Casablanca, The National Hispanic University, and Universidade Salvador.
Laureate has schools in Turkey and Chile, even though for-profit schools are banned. In Brazil, the Rio State Legislature’s Investigative Commission on Private Universities issued a report criticizing for-profit colleges like Laureate for firing professors.
Visits by world and business leaders
Many global business and government leaders have held speeches at Laureate International University network institutions.
- Condoleezza Rice, addressed students from the University of Petroleum & Energy Studies and Pearl Academy, in India in December 2013 
- Álvaro Uribe, Universidad Andrés Bello (2006), UNITEC Honduras (2010), and UDLA Ecuador (2013)
- Demetris Christofias, European University Cyprus (2011)
- José María Aznar, Universidad Andrés Bello (2006 and 2010), Universidad de Las Américas (2011)
- José Miguel Insulza, Universidad Viña del Mar (2011)
- Lech Walesa, Campus Symposium at BiTS (2008) and Universidad Europea de Madrid (2011)
- Mario Vargas Llosa, Universidad Europea de Madrid (2006) and Universidad Andrés Bello (2012)
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Universidad Europea de Madrid (2010)
- Tony Blair, key-note speech at BiTS Campus Symposium (2009), Anhembi Morumbi University (2010), Universidad Europea de Madrid (2011), Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis (UniRitter) and Campus Eiffel Ecole Centrale d'Electronique Paris (ECE PARIS)
- Henry Cisneros delivered National Hispanic University's 28th Commencement address and was honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa (2013)
- Honan, William H. (20 January 1999). "Sylvan Plans Overseas College Network". The New York Times.
- http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2000_Dec_7/ai_67687292/. Missing or empty
- "Sylvan signs deal for part of Spanish university". Baltimore Sun. 1999-04-09. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "SYLVAN LEARNING SYSTEMS INC - 10-K Annual Report". Getfilings.com. 2000-12-31. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- Walsh, Mark (19 March 2003). "Sylvan Learning, Changing Focus, Sells K-12 Sector". Education Week. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "Sylvan Learning Renamed". New York Times. 18 May 2004. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "Management Group to Take Laureate Education Private". The New York Times. 29 January 2007.
- Gus G. Sentementes (2010-04-26). "Laureate Education lures Clinton as ‘honorary chancellor’". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- Redden, Elizabeth (2014-03-03). "World Bank affiliate invests $150 million in for-profit college provider". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- Kilar, Steve (2013-01-23). "World Bank invests in Baltimore-based Laureate Education". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- Melissa Korn (2013-07-10). "Online Education Startup Coursera Raises $43 Million - Digits". Blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/experts/295/robert_b_zoellick.html. Missing or empty
- http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/about-us/our-team/judith-rodin-phd. Missing or empty
- http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/mar/insiders?pid=31156. Missing or empty
- Kimes, Mina (2014-02-04). "Clinton Pitches KKR-Backed College Chain Amid Controversy". Bloomberg.
- Haberman, Maggie (2015-04-24). "Bill Clinton Ends Role With Chain of For-Profit Colleges". The New York Times.
- abc / madrid (2013-05-21). "Bill Clinton visita hoy al Rey y coincide con el Príncipe en un foro" [Bill Clinton today visit coincides with the King and Prince in a forum] (in Spanish). ABC.es. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Presidente Bill Clinton asistió a la inauguración oficial del Campus San Isidro de la UPC" [President Bill Clinton attended the official opening of the San Isidro Campus of the UPC] (in Spanish). Businessempresarial. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Edito: Clinton et Benkirane. L'avenir du Maroc est dans la tolérance et la modernité" [Editorial: Clinton and Benkirane. The future of Morocco is within tolerance and modernity] (in French). Aufaitmaroc.com. 2013-02-24. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- [dead link]
- "Cooperation is key, ex-President Clinton tells grads". Star Tribune. July 30, 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- ARIANA FERENTINOU (2010-10-03). "Clinton at Bilgi". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Bill Clinton to give talk at varsity on Friday". The Star Online. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "World's Best Design Schools: Domus Academy". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Emerging global economies: MBA programs in Latin America | QS". Top MBA. 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Top 10 Hotel Management Schools". Hotel Management Asia. 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- Kimes, Mina (2014-01-18). "Laureate, a for-profit education firm, finds international success (with a Clintonâs help)". The Washington Post.
- "Sylvan Learning Foundation | Sylvan plans nonprofit education foundation Philanthropy: Sylvan Learning Systems puts $7 million into a national foundation to improve schooling.". Baltimore Sun. 1997-06-05. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "Estudante da Unifacs participa de encontro com Bill Clinton nos EUA" [Students of Unifacs participate in meeting with Bill Clinton in the U.S.] (in Portuguese). Gente & Mercado. 25 Feb 2012. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- [dead link]
- http://www.upes.ac.in/press-release-detail.aspx?mpgid=101&pgidtrail=102&Pressid=9. Missing or empty
- "Democracia sin prensa libre no es democracia Oscar Arias" ["Democracy without a free press is not democracy" Oscar Arias] (in Spanish). HOY. 2013-07-02. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-06-22". Cyprus News Agency. 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "Aznar, doctor honoris causa por la Universidad de las Américas de Ecuador" [Aznar, doctor honoris causa by the University of the Americas in Ecuador] (in Spanish). Libertad Digital. 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "José Miguel Insulza justifica decisión de EEUU de lanzar el cuerpo de Osama Bin Laden al mar" [José Miguel Insulza justifies U.S. decision to launch the body of Osama Bin Laden at sea] (in Spanish). BioBioChile. 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- Firstpost. "Watch latest Lech Walesa Videos - 6R-OmbhzE14 : Firstpost Topic - Page 10". Firstpost.com. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "Vargas Llosa, doctor 'honoris causa' por la Universidad Europea de Madrid" (in Spanish). Cultura | EL PAÍS. 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "La Universidad Europea de Madrid entregará hoy a Erdogan el título de Doctor Honoris Causa" (in Spanish). Ecodiario.eleconomista.es. 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "Tony Blair visita la UEM de Villaviciosa de Odón" (in Spanish). envillaviciosadeodon.es. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "Jornal do Comércio - Tony Blair debate globalização na UniRitter nesta quarta-feira". Jcrs.uol.com.br. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- The National Hispanic University (2013-05-15). "Henry Cisneros, Former Secretary of HUD, Delivers NHU Commencement Address" (Press release). Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 2014-03-08.