Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kaplan University

A short film was shown this morning as an introduction to use of new media in the classroom from Kaplan University. It is a well-made film with a black professor apologizing to the class for not being media-hip - and that then being transported to all sorts of devices.

Apart from this depicting learning as a one-way street, i.e. the consumption of video anytime, anywhere for credit, I have long suspected that this was just another diploma mill, but have never had the time to research the topic. Let's see:
  • The Wikipedia notes that this is the "doing business name of the Iowa College Acquisition Corporation, a company that owns and operates independent, private, for-profit, colleges".
  • Rip-off Report no textbook to read, just exercises to hand in that always come back with a grade "A"
  • Another Diploma Mill
  • They have an online (!) nursing program "accredited" by the "Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs". I can't find much on them, except advertising sites for online education that say that this is legit. But I don't see them on official lists (except the Wikipedia, and I don't trust it for something like this). Please drop a comment with a reference if this is in line. How can you do nursing by distance?
  • Complaintsboard: A number of stories here.
Slick films, but I think I need more convincing that this is a legitimate university.


  1. I respectfully disagree with the author of this article about Kaplan University. I've been a student at Kaplan University for three years and almost all of my classes come with textbooks. Most of the time the textbooks are in the format of an ebook (a .pdf file), but sometimes Kaplan mails me the actual textbook(s) for a class. Personally, I like using the ebooks (a .pdf file) because I can more easily locate information in an ebook than in an actual textbook. I obtained an associate's degree at Kaplan and I can tell you that all the assignments that I turned in did not come back with an automatic "A." Once you get past the first few classes, then the content of the classes starts to get harder. Every week, in each class, I usually have to write a research paper that is at least (the key phrase here is "at least") two pages long. Additionally, each class has multiple discussion boards that each student must complete every week. There is also a one hour seminar where students interact with each other and with the instructor that takes place every week. Most professors grade students on their seminar attendance and participation, but some do not.

    There are a lot of complaints on the internet about Kaplan's financial aid department and many of those complaints are valid because Kaplan's financial aid department is sub-par, at best. The financial aid department does not do a good job of keeping track of the student's federal financial aid nor does it do a good job of sticking by the billing plan set up with the student. The financial aid department does press students to sign up for stafford loans, even if the student has made it clear that he/she does not want a loan. However, if a student reads all the paperwork from Kaplan before signing every document, then he/she will be smart enough not to sign up for the loans. The biggest complaint I hear from people about Kaplan is that Kaplan somehow "tricked" a student into signing up for a loan, but the truth is that only the student can sign himself/herself up for a loan. The moral of the story in this case is to read everything carefully before you sign it. While I am the first to say that Kaplan's financial aid department needs great improvement, I still believe that Kaplan provides a great college education.

    I am close to obtaining my B.S. in Legal Studies from Kaplan University and I am proud to have attended Kaplan. All of my instructors for law-related classes have been attorneys and I have learned a lot from listening to them and interacting with them. Kaplan has provided me a valuable opportunity to learn about law directly from experienced attorneys. It is clear to me that whoever wrote the original article about Kaplan University did very little research on Kaplan and decided to trash the university based on the complaints of some people who failed to read and comprehend the documents that they were signing or from people that couldn't figure out where their ebooks were located (since the author of the article claimed that Kaplan did not distribute textbooks).

    To the author of this article, if you want to know more about Kaplan University, why don't you try talking to some of the current students of the university?

    All colleges have their own problems and Kaplan is no different, but Kaplan is still a good school that provides a solid education to those that are willing to take responsibility for their own work and their own actions.

    To the author of this blog: Thank you for taking the time read my comment. I hope you decide to post my comment on your page. Thank you.

  2. In the article on this blog about Kaplan University, there is a link titled "Another Diploma Mill," that seems to imply that Kaplan is simply a diploma mill. However, if you follow that link, it goes to a page that is written by an individual by the name of Scott Davis. Mr. Davis' article about "Another Diploma Mill," was clearly not written about Kaplan University, and I encourage the author of this blog to go back and carefully read Mr. Davis' article. Mr. Davis does not have any bad things to say about Kaplan University. In fact, he graduated from Kaplan University. Scott's page states that "Scott started his degree program in 2003, and had no prior college credit before jumping into the distance learning environment. He graduated in October 2007 having attained an A.A.S. in Information Systems and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Kaplan University." (Davis, 2007)*. Mr. Davis had some good things to say about Kaplan on his link that was labeled "My Kaplan University Experience," which is located near the top of the page that contains his article about diploma mills. The URL for Scott's article on "My Kaplan University Experience" can be found here:

    Ms. Weber-Wulff, I encourage you to do more research on a topic before you post information that could be interpreted as misleading. Please publish this comment on your blog so that people are not misled into believing that Kaplan University is just another degree mill. By posting misleading information about Kaplan University, you are doing all of us Kaplan University students a disservice. Thank you for your time.

    *Davis, S. (2007, July 11). My Kaplan University Experience. Retrieved January 25, 2010, from

  3. I did my undergraduate work at an AACSB accredited (and of course the school was regionally accredited, SACS) school of business and economics.

    I also started work on my MBA there and then transferred everything.

    I am at Concord Law School (Kaplan's Law school) and although the Financial Aid department is not very well run, the academic experience is as rigorous as (if not more so than) any of the on-campus work I've done.

    Both the live classes (where we interact with professors) and the recorded lectures are excellent. and I have MUCH more interaction with my professors through phone and email that I ever got by trying to catch professors at sticks and bricks schools during their office hours or get them to return emails.

    Be careful of the whole Diploma Mill discussion. Kaplan is accredited by the same regional accreditation association as the other universities in the same region; The United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize the Commission as a regional accrediting organization.

    If Kaplan is a diploma mill the so is Notre Dame, University of Michigan,University of Chicago, Ohio State University and all of the others in the region.

    I would submit to you that the business education through Kaplan has been a much better, richer and more engaged than any of my "sticks and bricks" educational experiences.

    It's the same education (if not better) as the other good schools, with a delivery system that's more interactive.