Walden University

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Walden University
Walden Seal Color 200px.png
Seal of Walden University
MottoA higher degree. A higher purpose.
TypePrivate, Public Benefit Corporation
PresidentJonathan A. Kaplan[1]
Students51,016 (as of November 2014)[2]
LocationMinneapolis, Minnesota[3], US
CampusPrimarily online[3]
Walden Logo Stacked No Tag 250px.png

Walden University is a for-profit Public Benefit Corporation, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[3] Walden University offers Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Education Specialist, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Business Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in a number of academic fields. Walden is a part of a global network of 80 universities across 29 countries owned or managed by Laureate Education Inc.[5]


Walden University's former headquarters in the Mills District of Minneapolis

Walden was established in 1970 by two New York teachers, Bernie and Rita Turner, who created a program for working adults/teachers to pursue doctoral degrees. In the summer of 1971, the first classes took place in Naples, Florida, focusing primarily on school administrators. These initial classes were to allow the students to form dissertation topics with their faculty partners before returning home to work at their respective schools while also working on their dissertations. In 1972, Walden conferred its first degrees: 46 PhDs and 24 EdDs at its first commencement in Naples.

In 1979, the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board licensed Walden to grant PhDs and EdDs in the state and in 1982 the school moved its headquarters to Minneapolis. In 1990, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the University. In 1995, the school expanded its offering with the nation's first fully online master's program in education, offering a Master's in Educational Change and Technology Innovation.[citation needed]

Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., purchased 41 percent of Walden University in 2001,[6] gaining a controlling interest in 2002.[7] In 2004, Sylvan Learning Systems became Laureate Education, Inc. Former US President Bill Clinton, was until 2015, an Honorary Chancellor of Laureate International Universities.[8] President Clinton was the keynote speaker at Walden University’s commencement on July 30, 2011. In 2015, Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico and current director of the Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization, succeeded President Clinton as Laureate Education’s Presidential Counselor.

Currently Dr. Ward Ulmer serves as Interim president of Walden University, and Paula Singer serves as the CEO. Jonathan Kaplan served as CEO prior to Paula Singer and previous to that Mr. Kaplan served three years as economic policy adviser to then-President Bill Clinton. Kaplan received his Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law, where he served as an editor of the Boston University Law Review. He later practiced law as an associate at Covington & Burling, a leading international law firm based in Washington, D.C.[9] Laureate’s current Board Advisory Committee on Education also includes such notable individuals as Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State during the George W. Bush administration.[10]


Walden University gets more than 75% of its funds from the US government, including more than $750 million a year for graduate student loans. This is the largest amount for any college in the US.[11]

Walden University is under heightened cash monitoring from the US Department of Education.[12]

The U.S. Department of Education’s Cohort Default Rate (CDR) demonstrates an institution’s borrower’s ability to manage their debt against default. Walden’s CDR is 6.8%; the national average is 11.8% for all US institutions. A recent study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) found that the average annual federal student loan amounts of Walden graduate degree borrowers is similar to the federal loan amounts of students at public and private non-profit institutions.[13]

1.7 to 3 percent of Walden students defaulted on loans between 2005 and 2008. The average default rate at for-profit universities is 17.1 to 22.6 percent, and the average default rate for all US colleges is 8.4 to 12.3 percent.[14]

In 2013, Walden's parent, Laureate Education Inc., together with GSV Capital, IFC, Learn Capital and Yuri Milner provided $43M in funding to Coursera in an effort to expand online education.[15]

On April 8, 2016, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education notified Walden University that its renewal application to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) was rejected because Walden University did not have a US Department of Education financial composite score of 1.5 or higher.[16]


Walden University has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a regional accreditation agency, since 1990.[17]

Accredited professional programs[edit]

  • Walden's Richard W. Riley School of Education and Leadership is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)[18][19]
  • Walden’s PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision; MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; and MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).[20][21]
  • Walden University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
  • Walden University's BS in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Executive MBA, Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and PhD in Management programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
  • Walden's MS in Project Management program is accredited by the PMI Global Accreditation Center (GAC) for Project Management Education Programs.
  • Walden's Masters of social work is Council of social workers education (CSWE) accredited, an accreditation needed to get licensed as a social worker in most states.
  • Walden's BS in Information Technology is one of only a few online programs accredited by ABET, the internationally recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.[22]
  • Walden University is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.[23]

Unaccredited professional programs[edit]


Walden University consists of five colleges:

  • Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership: The Riley College of Education has graduated more than 28,000 educators and currently enrolls over 16,000 students from all 50 states.[3]
  • College of Management and Technology
  • College of Health Sciences
  • The Barbara Solomon School of social work and human services
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Alumni and faculty[edit]

  • John Antonakis (Ph.D. in applied management and decision sciences)
  • Chandra Dillard (MPA, member South Carolina House of Representatives)
  • Thomas A. Drake (a former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower)
  • Jacob Lozada (nominated by U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director to serve as the Human Resource Agency's Special Advisor to the Director of OPM for Diversity Strategy)

Political controversies[edit]

Walden University and its parent company Laureate International Universities have been linked to former US President Bill Clinton, his wife and former US Senator and Secretary of State (and Presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation.[25][26][27] Accusations by Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump were later proven false. Republican Advisor Daniel Runde, formerly head of Foundations Unit for the Department of Partnerships & Advisory Service Operations at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group), formally debunked many insinuating claims made regarding the Clinton Foundation, Laureate Education, and the IYF.[28] The World Bank currently has invested $150 million in Laureate Education, Walden University's parent company. Fact checkers at The Washington Post concurred, citing the claims as conflated and inaccurate.[29] Fact checkers at PolitiFact.com also found the claims to be false.[30] A story in the Sept 5, 2016 edition of The Washington Post also investigated Clinton's role with Laureate and found many of the political claims to be false.[31]

In October 2016, NBC News reported that the Minnesota Office of Higher Education was investigating a spike in student complaints.[32]


Walden University sponsors several peer-reviewed and refereed academic journals.

  • International Journal of Applied Management and Technology[33][34] (ISSN 1544-4740)
  • Journal of Social Change[34] ( ISSN 1931-1540)
  • Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences[34] ( ISSN 1948-3260)


  1. ^ "About Our Accredited Online University". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  2. ^ "Walden University". NCAHLC.org. The Higher Learning Commission. Archived from the original on 20 January 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Kaplan, Jonathan A. (May 4, 2010). "Testimony of Jonathan A. Kaplan, President of Walden University" (PDF). House.gov. Education and Labor Committee, US House of Representatives. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  4. ^ "President Bill Clinton Accepts Role as Honorary Chancellor of World's Largest University Network" (PDF). Elearnimages.com. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Our Network". laureate.net. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010.
  6. ^ "Sylvan Ventures invest $32.8 million in school". bizjournals.com. February 5, 2001.
  7. ^ "Sylvan Gains Controlling Interest in Walden". Highbeam.com. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  8. ^ "President Bill Clinton Accepts Role As Honorary Chancellor Of World's Largest University Network". thestreet.com (Press release). PRWeb. 2010-04-26. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  9. ^ "Jonathan Kaplan, J.D." WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Board Advisory Committee on Education". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  11. ^ Baylor, Elizabeth (8 July 2015). "As Graduate-Student Debt Booms, Just a Few Colleges Are Largely Responsible". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  12. ^ "The surprising list of colleges whose financial management has the government worried". The Washington Post. March 18, 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  13. ^ Soldner, Matthew (June 2016). "A First Look at Student Loan Data Deficits: Improving Borrower Data for Institution Decision Makers" (PDF). waldenfacts.com. American Institutes for Research. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Stratford, Michael (July 30, 2012). "Senate Report Paints a Damning Portrait of For-Profit Higher Education". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Washington. Retrieved November 7, 2017 – via Chronicle.com.
  15. ^ "Coursera Secures $43M in Funding From GSV Capital, IFC, Laureate Education Inc., Learn Capital and Yuri Milner to Expand Free, High Quality Online Education" (PDF). shareholder.com (Press release). Mountain View, California: GSV Capital. July 10, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "FORM S-1 Registration Statement for Laureate Education, Inc". sec.gov. US Security and Exchange Commission. May 20, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  17. ^ "About Our Accredited Online University". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  18. ^ "Walden's Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership Receives NCATE Accreditation". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  19. ^ "State by State List of Accredited Institutions". NCATE.org. National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  20. ^ "CACREP Accreditation – M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  21. ^ "Directory". CACREP.org. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  22. ^ "Accreditation". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  23. ^ "National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense". nsa.gov. National Security Agency, US Dept. of Defense. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  24. ^ "PhD In Psychology". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  25. ^ "Subscribe to read". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  26. ^ Kimes, Mina; Smith, Michael (January 18, 2014). "Laureate, a for-profit education firm, finds international success (with a Clinton's help)". Washington Post. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  27. ^ Thomas, Cal (June 15, 2016). "Hillary Clinton most bought, paid for candidate". The Washington Times. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  28. ^ Runde, Daniel. "International Youth Foundation and Laureate Education Solve Important Global Problems". Forbes.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  29. ^ Lee, Michelle Ye Hee (June 27, 2016). "Trump campaign's claim that State Department gave $55.2 million to Laureate Education after hiring Bill Clinton". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  30. ^ "Trump claims Hillary Clinton laundered millions of dollars". PolitiFact.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  31. ^ "Inside Bill Clinton's nearly $18 million job as 'honorary chancellor' of a for-profit college". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  32. ^ "Minnesota puts for-profit college once tied to Bill Clinton under review". NBC News. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  33. ^ "International Journal of Applied Management and Technology". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  34. ^ a b c "Publications and Journals". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 20 January 2015.

External links[edit]