Seal of Walden University
|Motto||A higher degree. A higher purpose.|
|Type||Private, Public Benefit Corporation|
|President||Jonathan A. Kaplan|
|Location||Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.|
Walden University is a for-profit Public Benefit Corporation, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 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.
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, Florida.
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.
Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., purchased 41 percent of Walden University in 2001, gaining a controlling interest in 2002. In 2004, Sylvan Learning Systems became Laureate Education, Inc. Former US President Bill Clinton, was until 2015, an Honorary Chancellor of Laureate International Universities. 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.
Jonathan Kaplan is the current President and CEO of Walden University. Previously, 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. 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.
Walden spent $1,574 per student on instruction in 2009, compared to $2,230 per student on marketing and $1,915 per student on profit. The amount Walden spent on instruction per student was the second lowest of the privately held companies the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee examined; the amount that the privately held companies spent ranged from $1,118 to $6,389 per student per year.
Walden University gets more than 75% of its funds from the U.S. government, including more than $750 million a year for graduate student loans. This is the largest amount for any college in the U.S.
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 of 6.8% is below the national average of 11.8% for all U.S. institutions. The average annual federal student loan amounts of Walden graduate degree-level borrowers was not statistically different to the federal loan amounts of students at public and private non-profit institutions from 2011 through 2012. This is according to a recent study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) analyzing Walden’s loan data and data from the 2011–2012 National Post-secondary Student Aid Survey
Walden students default on loans at lower than average rate, 1.7 to 3 percent from 2005 to 2008, a rate that was dramatically lower than the average not only for-profit universities (17.1-22.6 percent) but also for all U.S. colleges (8.4 to 12.3)
Unlike many of Walden's for-profit counterparts, a Senate committee concluded that, when compared to its online public and non-profit counterparts, Walden is competitively priced. A Master’s Degree in Education at Walden University costs $18,000 (2017 rate). The same online degree at University of Minnesota costs $31,235. An online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree at Walden University costs $62,795 (2017 rate). The same degree at the University of Minnesota costs $56,240.
In 2013, Walden's parent, Laureate Education Inc., together GSV Capital, IFC, Learn Capital and Yuri Milner provided $43M in Series B funding to Coursera in an effort to expand free, high-quality online education.
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.
Walden University has been nationally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a regional accreditation agency, since 1990.
Accredited professional programs
- Walden's Richard W. Riley School of Education and Leadership is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
- 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).
- 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 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.
- 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.
Unaccredited professional programs
- Walden University's PhD specializations in Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology are not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and have not received designation by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards/National Register (ASPPB/NR), which are requirements for licensure in some states. The MS and six other PhD in psychology specializations offered by Walden are not governed by APA.
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.
- 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
Notable alumni and faculty
Shana Jugler, MS Psychology
Walden University and its parent company Laureate International Universities have been mentioned, sometimes unfavorably, in articles in the Financial Times, The Washington Post, and The Washington Times about Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton Foundation.
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 of the claims made regarding the Clinton Foundation, Laureate Education, and the IYF. 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 talking point. Fact checkers at PolitiFact.com also found the claims to be false. 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.
In October 2016, NBC News reported that the Minnesota Office of Higher Education was investigating a spike in student complaints.
Walden University sponsors several peer-reviewed and refereed academic journals.
- International Journal of Applied Management and Technology (ISSN 1544-4740)
- Journal of Social Change ( ISSN 1931-1540)
- Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences ( ISSN 1948-3260)
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