American Public University System

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Not to be confused with American Public Television.
American Public University System
American Public University System logo.jpg
Motto Educating those who serve
Type For profit
Established 1991[1]
President Dr. Karan Powell
Academic staff
Students 98,400[3]
Undergraduates 83%[4]
Postgraduates 17%[4]
Location Charles Town, West Virginia, United States of America
Campus Online
Colors Blue and White
Mascot AMU Golden Eagles; APU Volunteers

American Public University System (APUS) is a for-profit, online learning institution that is composed of American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU). APUS is wholly owned by American Public Education, Inc., a publicly traded private-sector corporation (NASDAQAPEI). APUS maintains corporate and academic offices in Charles Town, West Virginia and administrative offices in Manassas, Virginia. APUS offers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees, in addition to dual degrees, certificate programs and learning tracks.

Despite its name, APUS is not a public institution and is not a part of the US government or the US military.

Approximately 56% of APUS’s students reported that they served in the military on active duty at initial enrollment.[5] About 55,000 military service members get tuition assistance (TA) for APUS schools.[6] Another 16,702 use their GI Bill benefits for the schools.[7]


The university was founded in 1991 by Major James P. Etter (USMC, retired) as American Military University.[1] Operations began in January 1993 with the enrollment of 18 graduate students. Initially, the main goal of the university was to meet the unique educational needs of military personnel needing courses in specialized areas, such as counterterrorism and military intelligence, that were not included in typical university course offerings. In the early years, instruction was done through conventional correspondence.[8]

In June 1995 AMU became nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). In January of the following year, the school introduced its first undergraduate programs. In 1998 AMU made the transition from correspondence-based learning to online learning.[8]

In 2002 AMU expanded to become American Public University System and established American Public University, intended primarily for civilians interested in public service programs.[8] In 2006 APUS was granted regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2012 American Public University System resigned its DETC accreditation.[9] The university is listed as tied for 58th place in U.S. News & World Report ranking of online bachelor's degree Programs.[10]

In 2013, APUS acquired National Education Seminars, Inc., which is now branded as Hondros College of Nursing (HCON). HCON offers a Diploma in Practical Nursing, an associate degree in Nursing, and an online RN-to-BSN program.[5]

In May 2016, APUS reported a 12% year-over-year decrease in students, down to 98,400 students, and 60,000 alumni worldwide.[11] In July 2016, long-time President Dr. Wallace E. Boston was succeeded as APUS president by former Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Karan Powell, while continuing his leadership role as CEO of APEI to provide strategic and leadership support to APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and other APEI ventures.


APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[12] The University's School of Business is accredited by, and several business programs have specialized accreditation from, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs[13] The University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.[14] To date, APUS' Public Health program is not accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, and the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering program is not accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the Master of Arts in Psychology program is not accredited by the American Psychological Association, nor does completion of the Master of Arts in Legal Studies program qualify its graduates to sit for the bar examination in any state or province.

Professional recognition and affiliation[edit]

Select APUS programs are also affiliated with and/or recognized by such professional organizations as:[15]

Academics and finances[edit]

APUS is an open enrollment institution.

The system employs approximately 410 full-time faculty members and 1,800 part-time faculty members.[5] Full-time professors are salaried employees without tenure.

APUS offers 200 degree and certificate programs across six academic schools through American Military University and American Public University, including the following:[18]

  • School of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Business
  • School of Education
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
  • School of Security and Global Studies

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the overall graduate rate is 46%.[19]

The Hondros College of Nursing (HCON) provides nursing education online and at four campuses in Ohio. HCON has more than 1,500 students.[5] Its NCLEX pass rate is currently 72%[20]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, APUS' most recent student loan default rate was 23.3%.[21]

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges[edit]

American Military University participates in the Servicemembers Opportunity College program, with eligible bachelor's degrees in Homeland Security, Intelligence Studies, Emergency and Disaster Management (Coast Guard only), Criminal Justice, Management, and Business Administration.[22] AMU is also a Navy College Program Distance Learning Partner.[23]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Nicole Malachowski, United States Air Force officer and the first female pilot selected to fly as part of the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Thunderbirds. (Master of Arts (with honors), National Security Policy, 2009)[25]
  • Yasser Harrak, Canadian liberal writer, columnist and human rights activist.[26]

Student organizations[edit]

Students at APUS are involved in a variety of different student organizations and honor societies. This includes chapters for the National Association for Environmental Professionals (NAEP), International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), Student Veterans of America (SVA), the Society of Human Resources Management, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), and The Saber and Scroll for History students.

Academic Honor Societies include: Alpha Phi Sigma, Sigma Beta Delta, Delta Epsilon Tau, Epsilon Pi Phi, Golden Key, Pi Gamma Mu, Delta Mu Delta, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Sigma Iota Rho.[8]

Partnership with Walmart[edit]

APUS has had a key partnership with Walmart since 2012. Walmart has spent $50 million on the program, chiefly on tuition grants for Walmart workers. According to Walmart, "the potential for educational advancement helps 'further develop a pipeline' for leaders." The program is called Walmart's Lifelong Learning Program.[27][28] Currently, Walmart workers can get a 15% tuition grant for the online school.[29] College credit may also be given for work experience.[30]


  1. ^ a b "For-Profit Education In The Age Of Austerity: The APUS Story". Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  2. ^ "APUS Facts". Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  3. ^;_ylt=AwrC1CmK0TFXL0wAQquTmYlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTEybjBwdmdkBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM1BHZ0aWQDVklEMDZfMQRzZWMDc2M-
  4. ^ a b "APUS Facts". Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Edgar Pro". Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  6. ^ "DoD Comparison Tool - Home Page". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d "American Public University System in Charles Town, WV - APUS, American Military University". Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  9. ^ "Report from the Accrediting Commission" (PDF). Distance Training and Education Council. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Best Online Bachelor's Programs | Online Bachelor's Rankings". US News. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  11. ^ Johnson, Madeleine (2016-05-09). "American Public Education (APEI) Beats Q1 Earnings & Revenue Estimates - Yahoo Finance". Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  12. ^ "AQIP Institutions". Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  13. ^ "American Public University System - Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs". 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  14. ^ "CCNE-Accredited Nursing Degree Programs". Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  15. ^ "Accreditation". American Public University System. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  16. ^ "IA Courseware Institutions". National Security Agency. Retrieved 2014-12-19. 
  17. ^ "American Public University System, NCFR". NCFR. Retrieved 2014-12-19. 
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ "College Navigator - American Public University System". 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  20. ^ "Report 1 Year to Date – Number and Percent Passing of First-Time Candidates Educated in BON/RB Jurisdictions" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  21. ^ "College Navigator - American Public University System". 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  22. ^ Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges. "SOC DNS Guaranteed-Transfer Courses". Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  23. ^ "NCP Distance Learning Partnership Schools". US Navy. Retrieved 2014-12-19. 
  24. ^ "Brandt Smith". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  25. ^ "President Bush Appoints 2008-2009 Class of White House Fellows". 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  26. ^ Middle East Seminar. 2016. Yasser Harrak Biography -Arabic-. Accessed December 30, 2016.
  27. ^ "| WalmartOne". 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  28. ^ Fain, Paul (2016-05-18). "Walmart and American Public U. chart new ground with partnership". Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  29. ^ "American Public University and Walmart – Lifelong Learning Program for Associates". Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  30. ^ "College Completion | College | Education | WalmartOne". 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2016-05-25. 

External links[edit]