American Public University System
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|Motto||Educating those who serve|
|President||Wallace E. Boston Jr.|
|Colors||Blue and Gray|
|Mascot||AMU Golden Eagles; APU Volunteers|
|Traded as||NASDAQ: APEI|
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American Public University System (APUS) is a private, 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 (NASDAQ: APEI). APUS maintains corporate and academic offices in Charles Town, West Virginia and administrative offices in Manassas, Virginia. APUS offers associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral 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 U.S. government or the U.S. military. In 2018, the school paid $270,000 to the state of Massachusetts following an investigation by the state's attorney general into allegations that it misled potential students.
Approximately 56% of APUS's students reported that they served in the military on active duty at initial enrollment. About 55,000 military service members get tuition assistance (TA) for APUS schools. Another 16,702 use their GI Bill benefits for the schools.
The university was founded in 1991 by Major James P. Etter (USMC, retired) as American Military University. 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.
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.
In 2002 AMU expanded to become American Public University System and established American Public University, intended primarily for civilians interested in public service programs. In 2006 APUS was granted regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. In 2012 American Public University System resigned its DETC accreditation. The university is listed as tied for 58th place in U.S. News & World Report ranking of online bachelor's degree Programs.
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 and other APEI ventures. In September 2016, Dr. Vernon Smith was named senior vice president and provost, succeeding Dr. Powell. In October 2017, Dr. Powell became APUS president (retired), with Dr. Boston resuming his presidency.
From 2013 to 2017, APUS' enrollment declined from 127,000 to 84,000 students. In 2018, APUS paid the state of Massachusetts $270,000 after an investigation by the state's attorney general into allegations that it violated the state's for-profit and occupational school regulations, which are aimed at protecting students from the deceptive and unfair business practices by for-profit schools.
APUS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (formerly the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools). In 2018, the accreditation status was designated "under governmental investigation" as a result of an investigation by the Massachusetts state attorney general into deceptive and predatory recruiting practices. The investigation ended in a settlement in which APUS paid $270,000 to the state to provide relief to eligible AMU students, and has agreed to change its disclosures to prospective students, and the designation was removed.
From January 6, 1995 to April 30, 2012, the institution was accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. APUS resigned its accreditation through this organization as of April 30, 2012.
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 The University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. APUS' Master of Public Health program was accredited in July 2017 — retroactive to 22 July 2015 — by the Council on Education for Public Health.
Completion of the Master of Arts in Legal Studies program does not qualify its graduates to sit for the bar examination in any state or province. Prospective MA in Legal Studies candidates are cautioned on this point by APUS itself.
Professional recognition and affiliation
Select APUS programs are also affiliated with and/or recognized by such professional organizations as:
- Society for Human Resource Management
- American Sport Education Program
- Council on Education for Public Health
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
- NSA's Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation
- The National Council on Family Relations
Academics and finances
APUS is an open enrollment institution.
The system employs approximately 410 full-time faculty members and 1,800 part-time faculty members. 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:
- 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
As well as professional certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees, the university now awards doctoral degrees. Beginning in May 2017, the university began awarding doctoral degrees in the following courses of study: Doctor of Global Security (DGS) and Doctor of Strategic Intelligence (DSI).
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, APUS' most recent student loan default rate was 23.6%.
Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges
American Military University participates in the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges program, with eligible bachelor's degrees in Homeland Security, Intelligence Studies, Emergency and Disaster Management (Coast Guard only), Criminal Justice, Management, and Business Administration. AMU is also a Navy College Program Distance Learning Partner.
- Wendy B. Lawrence, retired Space Shuttle veteran and Navy aviator with 25 years of service; professor of Space Studies
- 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)
- Yasser Harrak, Canadian writer, columnist and human rights activist.
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 Lambda Delta, Alpha Phi Sigma, Sigma Beta Delta, Epsilon Pi Phi, Epsilon Pi Tau, Eta Sigma Delta, Golden Key, Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Gamma Mu, Delta Mu Delta, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Sigma Iota Rho, and Sigma Tau Delta.
Partnership with Walmart
APUS has had a key partnership with Walmart since 2010. 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. Currently, Walmart workers can get a 15% tuition grant for the online school. College credit may also be given for work experience.
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