Strayer University is a United States-based private, for-profit higher education institution. It was founded in 1892 as Strayer’s Business College and later became Strayer College, before being granted university status in 1998. Strayer University operates under the holding company, Strayer Education Inc., which was established in 1996.
The university enrolls about 43,000 students through its online learning programs, and at 78 campuses located in 15 U.S. States and Washington D.C. The university specializes in degree programs for working adults and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in subjects such as accounting, business administration, criminal justice, education, health services administration, information technology and public administration. Strayer works with over 300 Fortune 500 companies to educate their employees. Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Dr. Siebert Irving Strayer founded Strayer’s Business College in Baltimore, Maryland in 1892. Strayer established the college to teach business skills to former farm workers, including shorthand, typing and accounting. Thomas W. Donoho joined the school in 1902. In its first decade of operations, enrollment at the school gradually increased, attracting students from other states, and in 1904 Strayer opened a branch of the school in Washington, D.C.
Enrollment further expanded as demand for trained accountants grew after the passage of the Revenue Act of 1913 and World War I increased the need for government clerks with office skills. During the 1930s, the college was authorized to grant collegiate degrees in accountancy by Washington, D.C.’s board of education. The school founded Strayer Junior College in 1959, when it was given the right to confer two-year degrees. In 1969, the college received the accreditation needed to grant four-year Bachelor of Arts degrees and was renamed Strayer College.
1980s and 1990s
From the 1980s to the late 1990s, Strayer College grew rapidly; enrollment increased from approximately 1,800 in 1981 and 2,000 in 1983, to around 9,000 by 1997. The college expanded the range of degree programs and courses it offered to include subjects such as data processing management and health care management. In 1987, the college was given authorization to grant Master of Science degrees. During the 1990s, the college began to focus on offering information technology courses. According to The Washington Times, high demand for computer training due to the increased use of computers in offices and movement toward “knowledge-based” employment led to higher enrollment at Strayer. In addition, Strayer began providing training programs in computer information systems for companies including AT&T Corporation and government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. In 1996, the college launched Strayer Online to offer classes via the Internet.
Noteworthy alumni of Strayer University include the following:
Gen. Robert Magnus, retired Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps 
Carolyn Wright, American lawyer, jurist and the Chief Justice of the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas
Don Watkins, author, columnist, and fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute
Irina D. Franca, singer and songwriter
Strayer Education Inc.
Strayer Education Inc. is a publicly traded corporation (NASDAQ: STRA), established as a holding company for the college and other assets in 1996. The company was created to take what was then Strayer College public and raise capital for expansion. Its corporate headquarters are in Herndon, Virginia. Karl McDonnell has been CEO since May 2013. McDonnell joined Strayer in July 2006, and was previously president and COO. Previous CEO Robert S. Silberman, who took the position in March 2001, was named executive chairman of the board.
Between 2001 and 2005, the company’s main owners were New Mountain Capital and a private equity unit of Deutsche Bank, DB Capital.
In 2009, Robert S. Silberman had total compensation of $41.5 million, a large portion of which was restricted stock that does not vest until 2019. This was the highest compensation in the for-profit education industry and led in 2010 to the Washington Post naming him the most highly compensated CEO in the Washington, D.C., area. His annual compensation in 2010 was $1.5 million.
Strayer stock has dropped more than 60% since its peak in 2010. For the second calendar quarter of 2012, the company reported net income of $21.2 million from total revenue of $146.3 million. Revenue was 11 percent lower and income 28 percent lower than the same quarter of the previous year.