Kaplan will put you to the test. The Washington Post subsidiary is perhaps best known for its test-preparation publications, which help students prepare for college and graduate school entrance exams, including the SAT, GRE, LSAT, and MCAT. Kaplan offers prep courses at some 600 locations in 30 countries. The bigger story for the company, though, is higher education, which accounts for more than half of its revenues. Kaplan University provides online undergraduate, graduate, and professional (including law) degrees in the US and abroad, primarily through Kaplan University. Kaplan also offers professional development for the financial services, real estate, IT, and other sectors.
In addition to its college admissions and course offerings, Kaplan serves the K-12 set through tutoring programs for standardized tests and professional development services for educators. After seeing its SCORE! after-school learning centers revenues sink by about half, Kaplan converted more than two dozen of its SCORE! centers into Kaplan test prep centers and shuttered the other 64 throughout the US.
Kaplan has been selling off some assets to focus on its core businesses of test preparation and higher education. For instance in 2011, the company sold its online high school-level curriculum unit, Kaplan Virtual Education, to fellow educator K12. Kaplan Virtual Education targeted adults without diplomas and students grades 6-12 wishing to supplement or reinforce their school-based curriculum. Later in 2011 the firm sold its Kaplan Compliance Solutions (KCS) unit to software firm Vertafore for an undisclosed price. The KCS unit provided compliance management software and services to clients in the insurance and securities industries.
Prior to that in 2010, the company sold five products from its K12 Learning Services segment to PCI Education. PCI bought the rights to the SpellRead, TextConnections, Summer Ventures, and Momentum Math product lines. Each segment includes a complete curriculum for middle and high school students in reading and math.
Kaplan has fared well in international growth expanding into Asia and broadening its presence in North America and Europe. The company is an active acquirer and casts its net widely. In 2011 the company acquired Australian vocational and higher education provider Carrick Education Group as part of Kaplan Australia's long-term strategy to invest in the education sector.
Kaplan has also added about a dozen English-language proficiency locations to its network through the acquisitions of West of England Language Services, Pacific Language Institute (Canada), and Pro Linguis (Switzerland). It has also steadily collected a string of professional training companies in Europe. During 2008 it acquired the UK-based professional training companies Hawksmere and Alitor Consulting. In 2011 it added Spain's Structuralia, which provides online programs for the engineering and infrastructure industries.
Kaplan Language Training, which operates in Hong Kong, provides instruction in Mandarin, primarily for Cantonese-speaking students preparing to take the Chinese Proficiency Test. Kaplan also licenses its materials which are offered internationally by affiliates and third parties.
Subsidiary Kaplan Higher Education renamed all four of its Texas Careers' campuses as Kaplan College in 2009. Some 2,100 students attend the new Kaplan College campuses in Lubbock, San Antonio, Beaumont, and Laredo, Texas. In 2010 it gave Ohio Institute of Photography & Technology the Kaplan College name. By renaming its campuses, Kaplan intends to build a brand that can be leveraged across the US. Overall, Kaplan's Higher Education Campuses business had 38,500 students enrolled at about 60 schools in roughly 20 states in 2010.
Seeking further growth, Kaplan formed a new subsidiary in 2010 called Kaplan VC, designed to help the company identify possible investment opportunities in new learning technologies. Specifically Kaplan VC focuses on investments in online business models in the areas of K-12, higher education, test preparation, and professional compliance in the US and Europe. The subsidiary also has its investment eye on about a half dozen companies in Latin America, the Middle East, and India over the next year.
The company is the largest and fast-growing segment of its parent company, The Washington Post. – less