Dr. Wallace E. Boston
President and
Chief Executive Officer
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American Public Education, Inc. is built on a fundamental commitment to helping students achieve their potential. Toward that end, we are dedicated to providing learning experiences that are innovative and relevant in order to promote student-centered learning, engagement, collaboration and achievement. We strive to be the most respected provider of academic programs and education services, and to serve all our stakeholders with distinction—our students, our strategic partners, our shareholders and the broader community.

We take great pride in the fundamental strength of our institutions. APUS has established a reputation for academic quality and affordability, offering an unparalleled value to adult learners. As the first online, for-profit institution to receive the prestigious Ralph E. Gomory Award for best practices from the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), APUS continues to earn recognition for the quality of its programs. In 2014, APUS received an unprecedented fourth Effective Practice award from OLC for a project to help students develop academic research skills and, in early 2015, was ranked in the top 10% among online undergraduate degree programs by U.S. News & World Report.

AMU is a leading institution serving the U.S. military community. In 2015, Military Times magazine ranked AMU the number one school serving active duty military and the number nine school serving veterans. We believe AMU’s reputation in military-affiliated communities helped drive a 9% year-over-year increase in net course registrations by students using Veteran’s Administration benefits in 2014.

We are pleased with the progress of our new campus-based institution, Hondros College of Nursing. In 2014, the college completed a move to a larger, more visible and accessible facility in Cleveland, Ohio; added new evening and weekend classes at both its Cleveland and Columbus campuses; and prepared for a transition of its online classrooms to the Sakai Learning Management System, which is used by APUS. Furthermore, the college enhanced its outreach efforts through a new awareness campaign, a social media presence, and an outreach strategy based on building relationships, an approach similar to that of APUS. In 2014, compared to the prior year, Hondros College of Nursing achieved enrollment growth of 11% and new student enrollment growth of 16%, setting the stage for a great future.

APEI faced a number of challenges in 2014, including increased competition from both traditional and online universities; an uncertain regulatory environment; and changes to the military’s Voluntary Education Program, which contributed to an overall decline in APUS enrollments. Although net course registrations for APUS declined 1% year-over-year in 2014, APEI achieved year-over-year revenue growth of 6.2%, due to the inclusion of the results from Hondros College of Nursing (acquired on November 1, 2013).

Within our institutions, our aim is not simply to reach more students, but to enroll more qualified students and to help them achieve success. I am pleased to report that, at the APUS spring 2014 commencement exercises, we celebrated a record class of more than 10,000 AMU and APU graduates and conferred degrees on the 430 graduate students and 580 undergraduates who attended the ceremony—a tremendous accomplishment for these students and for APEI.

A Strategy for the Future

We have set a clear course for the future. Our strategy is twofold. First, we are developing an advanced learning environment that we believe will enable us to continue to attract, engage and retain students and help them achieve their goals. Second, we are diversifying into high-demand fields and expanding into the international market to create new opportunities for growth. In support of our strategic objectives, we continue to innovate—by exploring new ways to promote persistence and student success, by investing in new technologies and by building strategic partnerships. In 2014, we made significant progress toward these goals.

Developing an Advanced Learning Environment and Improving Persistence. Today’s students live in a digital world. We believe the classroom of the future, whether online or on campus, will be a collaborative environment that incorporates digital media and interactive tools to enhance the learning experience, engage learners and improve persistence. To set us apart from other institutions and further improve student outcomes, we expect to continue investing in new technologies to increase the interactivity and appeal of courses at APUS by adding new rich media, simulations, gamification and other enhancements. In 2014, we partnered with a game-based learning company that develops education software; and we began a collaboration with the University of Central Florida’s Institution for Simulation and Training and Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab on a simulation development project with student and faculty of the E2i (Engage to Innovate) Creative Studio partnership. We also launched our first MOOC (Massively Open Online Course), a course in International Politics developed in partnership with the Policy Studies Organization.

In 2014, we made progress toward improving persistence and student success. We put new processes in place within APUS to identify at-risk students in the early weeks of classes, and we piloted ClearPath a new Learning Relationship Management (LRM) system developed by Fidelis, a company in which we have a minority investment. APUS is the first university to deploy ClearPath, a social media tool that encourages collaboration, mutual support and engagement. The initial results of this pilot, which involved 5,000 students, were impressive across a variety of measures of performance and persistence. Based on these initial results, we plan to open ClearPath to all undergraduate APUS students in 2015.

Building Strategic Partnerships. In addition to maintaining approximately 100 relationships with community colleges, APUS now serves more than 200 corporations, associations and other organizations through corporate and strategic outreach. These relationships continue to be an important way to effectively and affordably enhance our reputation, grow brand awareness and expand our base of qualified students. We work closely with our partners to provide education and training programs that support their strategic objectives, and to offer affordable educational opportunities as an added benefit to their employees. In 2014, we signed agreements with a number of new corporate partners, including Keurig-Green Mountain Coffee, The Hartford and Save-Mart, a West Coast grocery chain. We believe the students we attract through these partnerships possess a higher degree of college readiness and academic intent, on average.

Enhancing the Quality and Range of Our Programs. In 2014, we continued to advance in the field of healthcare education through the expanded outreach and growing reputation of Hondros College of Nursing. Within APUS, enrollment in its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs—an area of national importance—increased approximately 10% year-over-year and now represents approximately 13% of our total enrollment. In 2014, APUS added new programs in high-demand fields such as Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering and Public Policy; and, in January 2015, APUS launched a new dual master’s degree program in Homeland Security and Emergency & Disaster Management.

The participation of APUS in the Lumina Foundation’s Degree Qualification Profile (DQP) initiative, which includes some 400 participating colleges and universities, helps us improve and refine our degree programs. We are also engaged in two important collaborative initiatives—the three-year Gateways to Completion (G2C) program and the Foundations of Excellence program of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education—aimed at improving quality and exploring new ways to improve persistence, particularly in high-enrollment gateway courses. As the first fully online program to participate in the Foundations of Excellence program, APUS has already implemented key initiatives recommended by the study group. APUS also participates in the Higher Learning Commission Academy for Student Persistence and Completion, a four-year study to help institutions increase persistence and graduation. As a member of the inaugural cohort of 20 institutions, we will be developing strategies directly aimed at improving student success.

Exploring International Markets. In 2014, we launched two pilot programs aimed at expanding outreach to international students in order to increase the percentage of international students studying at APU. To help us reach our goals for international students, we entered into relationships with three New Horizons franchisees and several international education agents to provide information about APU to international students. New Horizons is an independent, global IT training company in which we have a minority investment. We are pleased by our relationship with and our investment in New Horizons, which has achieved profitability and continues to grow.

In closing, I thank the faculty and staff of each of our institutions. Together, we accomplished a great deal in 2014. I believe our progress reaffirms the strength of APEI as a recognized leader with the capability to address new opportunities in higher education. In the year ahead, we will continue to take steps to improve student success, increase the college readiness of incoming students and further differentiate our programs from the competition. Furthermore, we will continue to focus on providing unparalleled value, diversify and invest in technology to build the classroom of the future.

Dr. Wallace E. Boston's Signature

Dr. Wallace E. Boston
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Public Education, Inc.