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 Mexicos Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC), Universidad del Valle de México, Chiles Universidad de las Américas and Switzerlands 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.