October 4, 2023
We're Kaplan. We're a Brand That Matters.
We’re thrilled to be recognized as a 2023 “Brand That Matters” in its “General Excellence” category in the “Building the Future” theme by Fast Company.
Fast Company’s Brands That Matter awards program highlights organizations that go beyond corporate vision statements and management talking points, and celebrates an organization’s connection with its audience through cultural relevance, social impact, and clear and authentic communication.
Access is at the core of our brand
Stanley Kaplan was the son of immigrants who grew up attending public school in Brooklyn, New York. A star student at City College, he had big dreams about becoming a doctor. But his dreams were thwarted by discriminatory anti-Jewish admissions quotas at the time. Undeterred, he transformed a part-time tutoring gig into Kaplan Educational Centers in 1938, laying the foundation for his life's mission.
Stanley's personal setback sparked his lifelong commitment to make higher education accessible to everyone, no matter their backgrounds. He recognized that acing standardized tests could be their ticket to a brighter future. Now, 85 years later, Kaplan's core mission endures, dedicated to helping individuals achieve their dreams through education.
Today, Kaplan is a global enterprise, uniting about 10,000 professionals across 26 countries in a common mission: helping individuals achieve their goals and make better lives for themselves through education. We educate more than a million individuals each year, including many through our corporate and university partnerships. We not only offer test preparation programs, but also higher education, corporate training, foreign language training, and online programs as well as services to recruit, support and teach international students away from their home countries.
The Access Mission: Kaplan launched All-Access, enabling colleges and universities to provide free test prep for all students for graduate school and professional licensure. Half of all students taking advantage of All-Access are underrepresented minorities and/or first generation students, helping to propel their career outcomes.
Kaplan began working with Amazon’s Career Choice program. Kaplan coaches help Amazon’s 750,000+ eligible front-line workers articulate their long-term career goals and use Amazon’s free tuition benefits to earn the degree or credential that puts them on the path to education and career advancement.
We’re working with meal-kit provider HelloFresh to provide free GED prep to their workers. And we have partnered with Junior Achievement, which works with students in Title I schools, to help them prepare for college and careers. We provide entrance exam prep, credit articulation to accelerate time to degrees, and training for professional credentials to enter high-paying industries such as financial services.
95% of Kaplan students got into their top choice schools and three-quarters of doctors and one-half of nurses in the US prepared with Kaplan.
Last year, Kaplan launched our All-Access program to aid colleges and universities in helping students access test prep and increase access to graduate programs (and thus the professions) by underrepresented communities. For example, at Cleveland State University, the program has saved its 266 students more than $300K in the first six months.
All-Access is being adopted by several HBCUs (like Howard U) and now several states are looking at Kaplan’s model to serve a broader K-12 population. For example, Kaplan testified before the Illinois State House of Representatives to support a proposal to make Kaplan Test Prep free across the state.
We’re working with Amazon to help their 750K+ US employees better access Amazon’s Career Choice program. In less than a year, Kaplan coaches have had tens of thousands of individual coaching sessions with warehouse workers to identify career paths and best-fit educational opportunities. Inc. magazine called the Amazon/Kaplan coaching program “oddly genius.” And, LinkedIn cited “training, education, and COACHING” benefits when naming Amazon as #1 among U.S. workplaces to grow your career.
Our recent partnership with Junior Achievement will help nearly five million high school students (most in Title I schools) access career and college prep resources.
The Kaplan Difference
Kaplan has served generations of students. Entire families have taken Kaplan programs. Individuals have had us help them at key moments in their lives—from prepping for high school tests, then college and graduate school admissions, and then their degree or or professional credential or license, and then continuing education.
Testing for entrance exams is now a given, and in the public’s mind that has become synonymous with Kaplan—as reinforced by the frequent appearance of Kaplan branding and references related to test prep in TV shows and movies, as a New York Times crossword hint or answer, a Jeopardy response, and much more.
We help support whole professional sectors; three-quarters of all U.S. doctors, half of all nurses, and one-fifth of all lawyers have prepared with Kaplan and more CFAs who prep use Kaplan Schweser.
Kaplan’s pioneering efforts extend to online education, launching the first fully online law school in 1998, which helped establish the credibility of the format, and innovating the higher education paradigm through the sale of Kaplan University to Purdue in a groundbreaking deal that signaled changes to the industry.
The Creative Outreach
Being creative and (re)inventive helped Kaplan stay in business for 85 years, evolving with students’ changing lives and needs. What began as a one-man operation serving Brooklyn teens is now a global enterprise of 10,000 employees in 26 countries, serving 1 million-plus students, 4,100 educational institutions, and 13,000 corporate clients annually.
Our higher education businesses serve working adults who need better options—career and skills-focus, flexible schedules and delivery, etc.— than ‘traditional’ schools offer, in order to advance themselves. We’ve worked with colleges and non-profit organizations, such as Junior Achievement and Wall Street Bound, to build pipeline programs to help the underserved and students of color to get into healthcare, law, and other professions, to diversify and improve those fields. We provide free prep programs and started a foundation to explicitly create pathways to college for underserved populations.
Kaplan has a deep expertise in coaching people from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds, such as older, blue-collar workers and people of color. This enables us to run programs such as the coaching and advising services for Amazon’s Career Choice program, which serves Amazon’s thousands of American warehouse workers.
Our experience building pipeline programs gives us the expertise to work with HBCUs to develop All-Access programs and create strong ‘access pipelines’ that serve a broader swath of students and flip the funding model from individual to schools; it has also inspired state legislators to think differently about creating pathways to student success.
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