American Public Education completes Graduate School USA acquisition

Dive Brief:

  • American Public Education Inc., the for-profit company that operates the American Public University System and its American Military University, has closed on an acquisition of Graduate School USA, which trains federal government employees.
  • The acquired provider will be a standalone unit of APEI, which will continue operating it under the Graduate School USA name. The transaction, which was effective Jan. 1, was first announced in August as a $1 million asset sale.
  • APEI describes the deal as fitting into a focus on offering training and degree programs for “service-minded” students such as veterans, those in the military and those in healthcare. It also said the acquisition would diversify the company’s businesses.

Dive Insight:

Graduate School USA is the second acquisition in about four months for APEI, a publicly traded company based in Charles Town, West Virginia. In September, APEI completed a purchase of Rasmussen University, a 16,900-student, 23-campus institution that emphasizes nursing and health sciences education at locations in six states and online. That deal was first announced in October 2020 for $329 million.

APEI’s American Military University and American Public University together enroll about 90,000 adults. The Rasmussen acquisition nearly doubled APEI’s revenue to about $600 million. 

The Rasmussen deal also broadened revenue streams for the company, giving it one-third military and veteran students, one-third nursing students and one-third online adult students. It added about 8,500 nursing students on top of 2,300 nursing students that APEI already enrolled at its Hondros College of Nursing in Ohio and Indiana.

Graduate School USA represents a much smaller-scale expansion for APEI. Graduate School USA’s annual revenue averaged more than $20 million over the last three years. It has averaged about 15,000 open-enrollment students per year over the same time.

The newly acquired provider has a catalog of more than 300 courses. It counts more than 100 government agency customers, including the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services.

The company has cast the purchase as an important expansion into career and workforce training. 

“Educating service-minded students is the common thread that knits together our shared mission, and we are excited to welcome GSUSA’s strong federal training capabilities to the APEI family,” APEI’s CEO, Angela Selden, said in a statement.

When the deal was first announced, Selden said it provided opportunities to create new stackable credentials and give Graduate School USA students the ability to earn degrees at APEI institutions.

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