Laureate International Universities
|Traded as||NASDAQ: LAUR|
|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 2015, the company owned and operated more than 200 programs, both campus-based and online, in 29 countries. Total student enrollment was more than 1 million students.
Laureate Education was founded as a company by Douglas L. Becker. It 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 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 Universidad Europea de Madrid purchase was for $51 million.
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.
Between 2007 and 2015, Laureate made 41 acquisitions with a total purchase price of about $2.0 billion. According to Laureate, a key to the company's growth was its expansion into Brazil, where Laureate owned 13 institutions with a total enrollment of about 281,000 students. 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. His compensation was undisclosed at the time, but subsequent reports indicate he has earned around $16.5 million from the company.
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.
In 2013, Laureate also bought Brazilian for-profit university chain FMU for $412 million. The chain was bought in anticipation of a growing middle-class in Brazil.
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 would provide capital support to Thunderbird to open multiple international instruction sites and expand its executive education and online programs. Four Thunderbird Board members resigned in protest.
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.
In 2015, Laureate filed an Initial Public Offering which, as of October 2016, had failed to materialize. The IPO stated that Laureate had grown to more than 1 million students and 200+ campuses in 28 countries, and the IPO was in part a response to a global demand for more higher education among a rapidly growing middle class.
In 2016, Laureate sold its two Glion Institute of Higher Education campuses, four campuses of Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, and five LIUF schools. The total value of the Glion and Les Roches to Eurazeo was CHF 380 million.
Laureate Education had an initial public offering on the NASDAQ on February 1, 2017, its share closed the first day down from its opening offering price.
Relationship with Bill Clinton
Though former United States President Bill Clinton's role as a chancellor of Laureate was officially described as "honorary", from 2010 until early 2015, Bill Clinton was paid just short of $16.5 million for his role as honorary chancellor, including $2.5 million in 2011, when Hillary Clinton was still Secretary of State. These numbers were disclosed in his publicly released tax returns.
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 International University 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  to $4.7 billion in debt. Moody's rated Laureate's corporate bonds as high-risk and characterized Laureate has highly leveraged.
Laureate spends in excess of $200 million per year on advertising, including television commercials, online campaigns and billboards. There have been claims that "Laureate boosts revenue at struggling colleges by turbocharging enrollment, often without a parallel increase in academic investment."
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, 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 Wałęsa, 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)
- Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico, Presidential Counselor at Laureate International Universities (2015)
- Honan, William H. (20 January 1999). "Sylvan Plans Overseas College Network". The New York Times.
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- "Management Group to Take Laureate Education Private". The New York Times. 29 January 2007.
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- Gus G. Sentementes (2010-04-26). "Laureate Education lures Clinton as 'honorary chancellor'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Laureate Education lures Clinton as 'honorary chancellor'". The Baltimore Sun. 2010-04-26. 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.
- Bradshaw, Della (2013-03-18). "Thunderbird ties knot with commercial education partner". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "Robert B. Zoellick - Harvard - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs".
- "Judith Rodin - The Rockefeller Foundation".
- "MAR George Muñoz Insider Trades for Marriott International Inc.".
- Huston, Caitlin (February 1, 2017). "Laureate Education shares slump in market debut". Marketwatch. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- "Hillary and Bill Clinton Made $139 Million in Eight Years". Bloomberg.com/politics. 2015-07-31. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "Clinton discloses millions in book royalties, speaking fees". 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "Hillary's For-Profit Education". Wall Street Journal. 2015-09-14. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- Haberman, Maggie (2015-04-24). "Bill Clinton Ends Role With Chain of For-Profit Colleges". The New York Times.
- He left the post last April, weeks after Hillary Clinton announced her second presidential campaign.
- 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.
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- "Milenio Noticias - Diario, TV y Radio online - Grupo Milenio". Milenio. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "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 Clinton's help)". The Washington Post.
- "Laureate's growing global network of institutions". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "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.
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- "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 Wałęsa 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.