American Public University System

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American Public University System
American Public University System logo.jpg
MottoEducating those who serve
TypeFor profit
PresidentWallace E. Boston Jr.
Academic staff
Location, ,
ColorsBlue and Gray
MascotAMU Golden Eagles; APU Volunteers
American Public Education, Inc.
S&P 600 Component

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 (NASDAQAPEI). 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.[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.

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.[8] The university is listed as tied for 58th place in U.S. News & World Report ranking of online bachelor's degree Programs.[9]

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.[10] In October 2017, Dr. Powell became APUS president (retired), with Dr. Boston resuming his presidency.[11]

From 2013 to 2017, APUS' enrollment declined from 127,000 to 84,000 students.[12] 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.[13][14]


APUS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (formerly the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools).[15] 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.[16][13] 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,[13] 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.[17]

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[18] The University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.[19] APUS' Master of Public Health program was accredited in July 2017 — retroactive to 22 July 2015 — by the Council on Education for Public Health.[20][21]

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[edit]

Select APUS programs are also affiliated with and/or recognized by such professional organizations as:[22]

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:[25]

  • 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.[26] 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).[27]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the 6-year graduation rate is 29%.[28]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, APUS' most recent student loan default rate was 23.6%.[29]

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges[edit]

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.[30] AMU is also a Navy College Program Distance Learning Partner.[31]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Wendy B. Lawrence, retired Space Shuttle veteran and Navy aviator with 25 years of service; professor of Space Studies[32]

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)[33]
  • Yasser Harrak, Canadian writer, columnist and human rights activist.[34]

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 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.[35]

Partnership with Walmart[edit]

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.[36][37] Currently, Walmart workers can get a 15% tuition grant for the online school.[38] College credit may also be given for work experience.[39]


  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. ^
  4. ^ a b "APUS Facts". Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  5. ^ a b "Edgar Pro". Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  6. ^ "DoD Comparison Tool - Home Page". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  7. ^ "GI Bill Comparison Tool". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Report from the Accrediting Commission" (PDF). Distance Training and Education Council. 10 May 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Best Online Bachelor's Programs | Online Bachelor's Rankings". US News. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  10. ^ Muys, Brian. "American Public University System Appoints Dr. Vernon Smith as Provost". APUS. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Document". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "American Military University Pays $270,000 for Alleged Failure to Disclose Job Prospects, High-Pressure Enrollment Tactics". August 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Marian Johns (August 15, 2018). "Online for-profit university to pay $270,000 for allegedly misleading veterans".
  15. ^ "Statement of Accreditation Status". Higher Learning Commission. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  16. ^ "Public Disclosure: American Military University under American Public University System has received the"Governmental Investigation" designation" (PDF). February 7, 2018. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018.
  17. ^ Lambert, Michael (May 10, 2012). "Distance Education and Training Council Bulletin" (PDF). Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  18. ^ "American Public University System - Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs". 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  19. ^ "CCNE-Accredited Nursing Degree Programs". Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  20. ^ "Accredited Schools & Programs - Council on Education for Public Health". Archived from the original on 2018-06-28. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  21. ^ User, Administrative. "Online Master's Degree in Public Health - American Public University". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Accreditation". American Public University System. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  23. ^ "IA Courseware Institutions". National Security Agency. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  24. ^ "American Public University System, NCFR". NCFR. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  25. ^ [1][dead link]
  26. ^ Muys, Brian. "America Public University System Introduces First Applied Doctoral Programs". APUS. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  27. ^ Tross, Dave. "Doctoral Programs". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  28. ^ "College Navigator - American Public University System". National Center for Education Statistics. 2017-12-30. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  29. ^ "College Navigator - American Public University System". National Center for Education Statistics. 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  30. ^ Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges. "SOC DNS Guaranteed-Transfer Courses". Retrieved 2016-01-20.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "NCP Distance Learning Partnership Schools". US Navy. Archived from the original on 2014-12-19. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  32. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ "President Bush Appoints 2008-2009 Class of White House Fellows". 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  34. ^ Middle East Seminar. 2016. Yasser Harrak Biography -Arabic-. Accessed December 30, 2016.
  35. ^ Luckett, Jaimi. "Organizations: Be Involved | AMU". Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  36. ^ "| WalmartOne". 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  37. ^ Fain, Paul (2016-05-18). "Walmart and American Public U. chart new ground with partnership". Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  38. ^ "American Public University and Walmart – Lifelong Learning Program for Associates". Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  39. ^ "College Completion | College | Education | WalmartOne". 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2016-05-25.

External links[edit]