Global University Systems

Global University Systems B.V. (GUS) is a for-profit private limited company registered in the Netherlands. As a corporate group, it owns and operates several private for-profit colleges and universities in the UK, Canada, Israel and Europe, as well as other brands and companies in the education sector, such as the e-learning provider InterActive. GUS was founded in its present form and name in 2013 by Aaron Etingen, who is chairman, CEO and majority stockholder.[1]

Global University Systems B.V.
Company typePrivate (B.V.)
IndustryFor-profit education
Founded2013 (2013)
FounderAaron Etingen
HeadquartersTower H
5th Floor WTC Amsterdam
Zuidplein 36
1077 XV, ,
The Netherlands
Area served
Key people



The London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), the forerunner of GUS, was founded in 2003 by British entrepreneur Aaron Etingen (also known as Arkady Etingen).[2][3] This was expanded to several UK for-profit educational institutions known collectively as the LSBF Group, all owned by Etingen and including the London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA) and the LSBF School of English. After the market reforms of post-secondary education introduced by UK higher education minister David Willetts in 2011, the LSBF group rapidly expanded its student numbers. Etingen added St Patrick's College, London to his portfolio when his company Interactive World Wide Limited purchased the college in 2012.[2][4][5]

Following a restructuring of his holdings in late 2012, Etingen established Global University Systems in 2013. Its UK business model at the time was heavily dependent on access to government-funded loans to cover students' tuition fees, with students recruited internationally.[6] GUS was incorporated in the Netherlands as a Besloten vennootschap (or BV) and in turn became the owner of the LSBF Group institutions and St Patrick's College through Dutch holding companies. According to John Morgan writing in Times Higher Education, the Dutch "BV" structure (equivalent to a private limited liability company) does not require company accounts to be made publicly available and has a favourable tax regime compared to the UK. This led to further calls in 2017 for scrutiny of Dutch-incorporated private colleges and universities in the UK.[7][8] GUS's expansion continued over the next three years with the acquisition of the German business school GISMA in 2013, University Canada West in 2014, and the UK's University of Law in 2015. All three were in financial difficulty at the time of their acquisition.[9][10][11]

Concerns about the standards at both St Patrick's College and LSBF led to the UK government suspending their Tier 4 licences in 2015.[4][12] Following the suspensions, Global University Systems announced plans for a two-year restructuring process of the group's UK holdings to begin in mid-2016. According to John Cox, former director of organisational development at GUS, the plan involved LSBF and its LCCA division coming under a new vocational entity offering only diploma courses, short courses and corporate training products. The vocational courses delivered by St Patrick's College and the Birmingham-based Finance Business Training would also come under this division. The University of Law was to become the sole provider of academic qualifications and professional qualifications, including the master's degrees previously offered by the LSBF Group. However, as of 2019 LSBF was still offering master's degrees awarded by the International Telematic University and Geneva Business School. There were no programmes provided or validated by the University of Law.[13][14]

Between 2016 and 2018 GUS acquired further for-profit education institutions and companies, including the UK-based Arden University from Capella Education; IBAT College Dublin; the Israeli test-preparation company HighQ with INT college and merged the two; and Laureate Germany with its subsidiary institutions.[15][16][17][18]

In July 2019, Global University Systems bought Pearl Academy and University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in India from Laureate International Universities in an INR 2,500 crore deal.[19]

Global University Systems was awarded the title of 'Private Education Group of the Year' by Education Investor Awards 2019.[20]

In 2020, GUS expanded its portfolio by acquiring Trebas Institute, a provider of music, film, business, technology, and management programmes with campuses in Toronto and Montreal, Canada.” [21]

In May 2020, Global University Systems acquired Canada-based post-secondary college Trebas Institute.[22]

On 27 January 2021, it was reported that Global University Systems was seeking funding after announcing plans to sell its stake in various institutions, including the University of Law.[23]



As of 2018, GUS was recruiting students for its universities and colleges from more than 175 countries through a network of approximately 1,100 independent education agents and 500 staff in its own marketing, sales and business development departments. According to Moody's Investors Service, the company was deriving approximately 27% of its revenues in 2018 "from leveraging its agent network and marketing capabilities predominantly to source students for third-party institutions."[1]

Principal subsidiaries







  • HighQ (test preparation company preparing Israeli students for language, matriculation, and university entrance psychometric examinations, acquired 2017)[17]
  • Institute of Technology and Innovation (also known as INT college, training college specialising in the high-tech industry, acquired 2018)[33]

United Kingdom


  1. ^ a b Moody's Investors Service (19 January 2018). "Rating Action: Moody's affirms B3 CFR of Global University Systems; assigns B3 to new term loans". Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Malik, Shiv; McGettigan, Andrew; Domokos, John (30 May 2014), "Lecturers claim private college puts profits first". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  3. ^ Companies House. The University of Law Limited: Officers. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b Morgan, John (3 September 2015). "LSBF licence to sponsor overseas students suspended". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016 (registration required for full access).
  5. ^ a b Morgan, John (2 July 2014). "Director of education wins claim against former owner of St Patrick's College for unfair dismissal". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016. (registration required for full access)
  6. ^ Wright, Susan and Shore, Cris (2017). Death of the Public University?, pp. 14–15. Berghahn Books. ISBN 178533543X
  7. ^ Morgan, John (17 April 2014)."Private college goes Dutch but says profits are taxed in UK". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016 (registration required for full access).
  8. ^ Morgan, John (24 August 2017). "DfE approves UK university sales, but regulator's advice kept secret". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 27 April 2018 (registration required for full access).
  9. ^ a b Bradshaw, Della (5 September 2013). "Gisma rescued by for-profit education company". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  10. ^ a b Morgan, John (2 June 2015). "University of Law sold to Global University Systems". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016 (registration required for full access).
  11. ^ a b Law Society Gazette (8 June 2015). "An education in bad publicity". Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  12. ^ Morgan, John (26 February 2015). "Private college's visa licence suspended as BIS and QAA launch inquiries". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  13. ^ Custer, Sara (25 September 2015). "Global University Systems to restructure". The PIE News. Professionals in International Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  14. ^ London School of Business and Finance (2018). Postgraduate Programmes. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  15. ^ a b Tighe, Mark (15 October 2017). "College gets marked down". The Times. Retrieved 27 April 2018 (registration required for full access).
  16. ^ a b Morgan, John (19 August 2016). "Arden University sold to Global University Systems". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 27 April 2018 (registration required for full access).
  17. ^ a b Gueta, Jasmin (23 April 2017). "Israeli Court Approves Sale of Test-prep Firm in Liquidation to London-based Company". Haaretz. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  18. ^ a b c U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (18 April 2018). Form 8-K Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  19. ^ a b c Lamba, Prerna; (8 July 2019), "GUS Buys Out Laureate Education India Biz". Business World. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  20. ^ Education Investor Awards 2019 (4 December 2019) "Winners 2019". Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  21. ^ "GUS Canada expands to Montreal". The PIE News. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  22. ^ a b The PIE News (25 May 2020), "GUS Canada expands to Montreal". Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  23. ^ Law Society Gazette (27 January 2021), "ULaw owner seeks funding injection by selling stake". Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  24. ^ Toronto School of Management (16 October 2017). "Toronto School of Management Launches With Five Professional Development Programs". PR Newswire. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  25. ^ Canadian College of Technology and Business (18 March 2021). "Canadian College of Technology and Business launches in Vancouver". FE News. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  26. ^,Region%2C%20Ontario%20and%20the%20country.
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Schwertfeger, Bärbel (23 July 2018). "GUS mit neuem Billig-MBA in Berlin". MBA Journal. Retrieved 18 January 2019 (in German).
  33. ^ Bartov, Aviad (21 June 2018). "קבוצת ההשכלה G.U.S. רוכשת את מכללת INT המתמחה במקצועות ההי" ("Education Group G.U.S. Acquires INT College specializing in hi-tech"). Limudim. Retrieved 17 January 2019 (in Hebrew).
  34. ^ "'Deal done' for Global University Systems to buy FutureLearn". Times Higher Education (THE). 2022-11-30. Retrieved 2023-03-18.
  35. ^ Lyons, Tom (23 December 2013). "Ibat college in deal with private education provider Global University Systems". The Irish Times
  36. ^ Companies House. InterActive Pro Limited. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  37. ^ British Accreditation Council (August 2017). British Accreditation Council Inspection Report: London Academy of Trading, p. 2. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  38. ^ Companies House. London College of Contemporary Arts Limited. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  39. ^ Boyd, Catherine and Kernohan, David (15 January 2018). "What happens when an alternative provider falls into administration?" Wonkhe. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  40. ^ Huggins, Donata ( 29 October 2010). "A man schooled for big business". City A.M.. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  41. ^ Custer, Sara (17 July 2013). "LSBF rebrands English school chain". The PIE News. Professionals in International Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  42. ^ Companies House. Accent Language Limited. Retrieved 17 January 2018.