In particular, we emphasize science, technology, engineering and math STEM and business disciplines, areas in which we believe that there is large and growing demand, especially in developing countries. We believe the work of our graduates in these disciplines creates a positive impact on the communities we serve and strengthens our institutions' reputations within their respective markets. Our focus on private-pay and our track record for delivering high-quality outcomes to our students, while stressing affordability and accessibility, has been a key reason for our long record of success.
We believe the global higher education market presents an attractive long-term opportunity, primarily because of the large and growing imbalance between the supply and demand for affordable, quality higher education in many parts of the world. We believe the combination of the projected growth in the middle class, limited government resources dedicated to higher education, and a clear value proposition demonstrated by the higher earnings potential afforded by higher education, creates substantial opportunities for high-quality private institutions to meet this growing and unmet demand.
By offering high-quality, outcome-focused education, we believe that we enable students to prosper and thrive in the dynamic and evolving knowledge economy. We operate institutions that address regional, national and local supply and demand imbalances in higher education. As the international leader in higher education, we believe we are uniquely positioned to deliver high-quality education across different brands and tuition levels in the markets in which we operate.
Our institutions in these markets offer traditional higher education students a private education alternative, often with multiple brands and price points in each market, with innovative programs and strong career-driven outcomes. In many of these same markets, non-traditional students such as working adults and distance learners have limited options for pursuing higher education. Through targeted programs and multiple teaching modalities, we are able to serve the differentiated needs of this unique demographic.
Our program and level of study mix for was as follows:. The Laureate International Universities network enables us to educate our students locally while connecting them to an international community and offering them the advantages of our shared infrastructure, technology, curricula and operational best practices. For example, our students can take advantage of shared curricula, optional international programs and services, including English language instruction, dual-degree programs and other benefits offered by other institutions in our network.
We believe that the benefits of the network translate into better career opportunities and higher earnings potential for our graduates. Our Segments. We have five reportable segments, which are summarized in the charts below. We group our institutions by geography in Brazil, Mexico, Andean and Rest of World for reporting purposes. Our Industry. We operate in the international market for higher education, which is characterized by a significant imbalance between supply and demand, especially in developing economies.
In many countries, demand for higher education is large and growing. Global growth in higher education is being fueled by several demographic and economic factors, including a growing middle class, global growth in services and technology-related industries and recognition of the significant personal and economic benefits gained by graduates of higher education institutions. At the same time, many governments have limited resources to devote to higher education, resulting in a diminished ability by the public sector to meet growing demand, and creating opportunities for private education providers to enter these markets and deliver high-quality education.
As a result, the private sector plays a large and growing role in higher education globally. In many countries, including throughout Latin America and other developing regions, there is growing demand for higher education based on favorable demographics, increasing secondary completion rates and increasing higher education participation rates, resulting in continued growth in higher education enrollments. Strong Economic Incentives for Higher Education. According to the Brookings Institution, approximately 3.
We believe that members of this large and growing group seek advanced education opportunities for themselves and their children in recognition of the vast differential in earnings potential with and without higher education.
We believe the cumulative impact of favorable demographic and socio-economic trends, coupled with the superior earnings potential of higher education graduates, will continue to expand the market for private higher education. In many of our markets, the private sector plays a meaningful role in higher education, bridging supply and demand imbalances created by a lack of capacity at public universities.
In addition to capacity limitations, we believe that limited public resources, and the corresponding policy reforms to make higher education systems less dependent on the financial and operational support of local governments, have resulted in increased enrollments in private institutions relative to public institutions. Increasing Demand for Online Offerings. Moreover, increasing the percentage of courses taught online in a hybrid educational model has significant cost and capital efficiency benefits as a greater number of students can be accommodated in existing physical campus space.
Growth in Outsourced Academic and Administrative Services. To adapt to changing student preferences and greater demand for online and distance learning solutions, university leaders are refocusing their strategies around core academic functions, while seeking to outsource specialized technology functions and other administrative services. Private sector partners offering operational expertise and economies of scale are increasingly assisting universities through long-term relationships in areas such as online program management, technology support, facilities management, student services and procurement.
We believe that these trends will increase opportunities for private sector partners to deploy their capabilities to traditional educational providers.
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Our Strengths and Competitive Advantages. We believe our key competitive strengths that will enable us to execute our strategy include the following:. Our scale facilitates distinct advantages for our students and allows us to leverage our operating model across our network more efficiently. It would take a competitor considerable time and expense to establish a network of international universities of similar scale with the high-quality brands, intellectual property and accreditations that we possess.
Our network facilitates competitive advantages related to:. In particular, the scale of our business in the markets in Latin America in which we operate confers a competitive advantage, in that we are well-positioned to leverage our scale across these large markets that are relatively homogeneous in many ways e. We are creating a common operating model for our network institutions that integrates multiple software components, including SaaS-based information technology capabilities, student information system "SIS" , enterprise resource planning "ERP" , learning management system "LMS" , and customer relationship management "CRM" , into a single unified platform.
Leading Intellectual Property and Technology. We have developed an extensive collection of intellectual property that has in part been enabled by investments in unified technology systems. We believe this collection of intellectual property, including online capabilities, campus management, faculty training, curriculum design and quality assurance, among other proprietary solutions, provides our students a truly differentiated learning experience and creates a significant competitive advantage for our institutions over competitors. We have made significant investments to create unified technology systems across our network.
These systems will provide data and insights on a scale that we believe will allow us to improve student experience, retention rates and outcomes, while also enabling a more efficient and lower cost educational delivery model. Long-Standing and Respected University Brands. We believe we have established a reputation for providing high-quality higher education in the countries in which we operate, and many of our institutions are among the most respected higher education brands in their local markets.
Many of our institutions have over year histories and are ranked among the best in their respective countries. Many of our institutions and programs have earned the highest accreditation available, which provides us with a strong competitive advantage in local markets. For example, medical school licenses are often the most difficult to obtain and are only granted to institutions that meet rigorous standards.
We serve more than , students in the fields of medicine and health sciences across more than campuses throughout the Laureate International Universities network, including 20 medical schools and 15 dental schools. We believe the existence of medical schools at many of our institutions further validates the quality of our institutions and programs and increases brand awareness.
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Commitment to Academic Quality. We offer high-quality undergraduate, graduate and specialized programs in a wide range of disciplines that generate strong interest from students and provide attractive employment prospects. We focus on programs that prepare our students to become employed in high demand professions. Our curriculum development process includes employer surveys and ongoing research into business trends to determine the skills and knowledge base that will be required by those employers in the future.
This information results in timely curriculum upgrades, which helps ensure that our graduates acquire the skills that will make them marketable to employers. We are also committed to continually evaluating our institutions to ensure we are providing the highest quality education to our students. LEAF, in conjunction with additional external assessment methodologies, such as.
Strong Student Outcomes. We track and measure our student outcomes to ensure we are delivering on our commitments to students and their families. In , we conducted a similar study with the IFC in Peru for two of our network institutions, UPC and Cibertec, which showed that graduates from the larger programs of both institutions had higher salaries than their control group counterparts.
Additionally, graduates from UPC were found to experience a larger positive change in their socioeconomic status than their peers who completed studies at non-Laureate institutions. Attractive Financial Model. Our Strategy.
The execution of our strategy will be enabled by the following initiatives:. We anticipate that our focus on our core, scaled markets will allow us to integrate our campus-based operations in those markets. Our institutions in Latin America serve approximately , students in a relatively homogenous operating environment, creating a unique opportunity to harvest the benefits of scale.
We believe that by implementing and optimizing our common operating model, we will be able to transition our institutions from operating as decentralized, stand-alone units to operating as an integrated and scaled network. Tighter integration of our Latin American campus-based operations will also enable us to significantly reduce our cost structure and allow us to leverage the benefits of our scale across our more than 20 brands in these markets.
By continuing to build on our success with the implementation of EiP, we believe that we can increase consistency and achieve scale with respect to back and mid-office functions, as well as certain front-office functions which impact the student from enrollment through graduation. We anticipate that the common operating model will enable closer collaboration across our network and will facilitate network-wide innovation and improved student experiences, such as joint program development initiatives, global classrooms, increased sharing of best practices and additional coordinated investments in unified technology systems and new capabilities such as artificial intelligence "AI" and enhanced data analytics.
We believe that this unification will enable us to be more nimble in our day-to-day operations and will allow us to extract valuable insights from more data across our network. We believe this will enable further innovation and efficiency in our academic model and operations. Further, we believe that this common operating system will enable us to lower the cost of delivery of education, which we believe should lead to improved margins and expanded market share.
We plan to continue to centralize the development of certain curriculum, allowing us to build common teaching modules and courses at a lower cost and at higher quality, as compared to building modules and courses in each local market, as we can dedicate more resources to each course or module.