Baltimore, Maryland — October 2, 2015 — Laureate Education, Inc., announced today that it has converted from a traditional corporation to a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) domiciled in Delaware, which has the most up-to-date PBC law. Through this conversion, Laureate joins more than 2,800 U.S. companies incorporated as Public Benefit Corporations across 30 states and the District of Columbia. With over one million students and 88 institutions in 28 countries around the world, Laureate is the largest global network of degree-granting higher education institutions and the largest company to become a Public Benefit Corporation. Laureate’s corporate headquarters will remain in Baltimore.
“From the inception of the company, our main purpose has been to prepare our students for success in their careers and lives,” said Douglas L. Becker, Founder, Chairman and CEO. “We recognized the enormous importance that society places on education as a public good. This inspired us to create a culture that combines the ‘head’ of a business enterprise with the ‘heart’ of a non-profit organization.
“Most of our operations are outside of the United States, where there are many barriers that inhibit participation in higher education. We committed ourselves to overcoming these barriers in order to expand access. For a long time, we didn't have an easy way to explain the idea of a for-profit company with such a deep commitment to benefitting society. In 2010, we took notice when the first state in the U.S. passed legislation creating the concept of a Public Benefit Corporation, a new type of for-profit corporation with an expressed commitment to creating a material, positive impact on society. Our public benefit is firmly rooted in our belief that when our students succeed, countries prosper and societies benefit.”
Public Benefit Corporations are required to identify in their certificate of incorporation the public benefit or benefits they will promote. Even though not required to do so by the Delaware Public Benefit Corporation law, we are choosing to measure our overall public benefit performance against an objective third-party standard. Laureate has chosen to be assessed by B Lab, an independent non-profit organization.
As a Public Benefit Corporation, Laureate is required to balance the financial interests of its stockholders with the best interests of those stakeholders materially affected by its conduct, including particularly those impacted by the specific benefit purpose set forth in its certificate of incorporation. Laureate’s public benefit is to produce a positive effect for society and students by offering diverse education programs both online and at campuses around the globe. By doing so, Laureate believes that it provides greater access to cost-effective, high-quality higher education that enables more students to pursue their academic and career aspirations.
Laureate offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate degrees through campus-based, online and hybrid programs. Laureate’s programs are designed with a distinct emphasis on applied, professional-oriented content for growing career fields and are focused on specific academic disciplines, or verticals, that it believes demonstrate strong employment opportunities and provide high earnings potential. For example, Laureate currently operates 21 medical schools and 19 dental schools. In addition to delivering superior outcomes for its students, Laureate is highly focused on delivering social returns to all of its constituents, especially the local communities it serves. In 2014 alone, Laureate’s university-based clinics provided free or low-cost medical care to over 150,000 patients.