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American Intercontinental University (AIU) was founded in Europe in 1970 on the premise that universities should provide students with a curriculum that prepares them to pursue their professional interests. Recognized as an American degree-granting institution in 1971, AIU has offered degree programs at its campuses in Atlanta and Houston for more than 40 years. In January 2001, Career Education Corporation (CEC) acquired the university and launched AIU online.

American Intercontinental University's beginnings lay in the fashion discipline. However, AIU has expanded and developed specialized, focused online degree programs in business, accounting, information technology, criminal justice, education and design. In support of its philosophy and mission, AIU's goals are as follows:

  • To enable students from diverse cultures and backgrounds to achieve personal and professional goals
  • To provide academic programs, services, facilities and technologies that support student learning, intellectual development and personal growth
  • To foster critical thinking and lifelong learning
  • To instill the importance of ethical behavior, responsibility and professional standards
  • To retain a diverse faculty comprised of experienced, qualified educators with industry-current expertise

AIU is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association to award associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. In addition, AIU's business programs earned accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs in 2011. In 2013, AIU's Master of Education (M.Ed.) program became one of the first fully online programs to be granted initial two-year accreditation by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).


American Intercontinental University was recognized as one of the "Best of the Best" in the Education and Academia category of the 2009 Computerworld Honors Program. Today AIU offers online degree programs that include three associate degrees, nine bachelor's degrees, and five master's degrees. However, a variety of specializations are available within each degree. For example, the bachelor of business administration (BBA) offers the following subspecialties:

  • Generalist
  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fashion Marketing
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Project Management

Offering such a wide variety of specializations increases the odds a prospective student may find a degree that aligns with their goals. In 2009, AIU introduced My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) to a number ofcourses to supplement learning outside the classroom. M.U.S.E. is a web-based tool that provides access to interactive learning options that aim to help students comprehend course material in a way that resonates with them. As a result of the introduction of M.U.S.E., AIU's parent company, Career Education Corporation, was recognized by The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) with its 2010 CCA Innovation Award.

In 2013, AIU debuted a proprietary adaptive learning technology called intellipath™ to deliver data-driven personalized learning. The platform assesses students' current understanding of a topic and then tailors the type and order of the lessons presented to meet their individual needs. In April 2014, AIU introduced intellipath into its MBA in Management, making AIU's program the first MBA in the U.S. driven by adaptive learning technology.

Cost to attend

AIU is committed to transparency and provides not only cost per credit hour, but also technology fees, online course fees and estimated textbook costs and estimated total program costs for all of its programs. On average, based on publicly available information from AIU's website in 2015, students can expect to pay $27,330 for an online degree programs at the associate's degree level, $54,510 for an online bachelor's degree and between $21,366 and $35,070 for an online master's degree depending on the program selected. Many online students are able to work full-time and live at home while pursuing their degree, as opposed to traditional in-person degrees which have a residency requirement and courses during regular business hours.

Financial aid

Since AIU is regionally accredited, students are eligible for federal loans and grant programs including:

  • Federal Direct Stafford loans
  • Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS loans)
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Work-Study Program (in-person students only)

Students may also be eligible for state based aid in their state of residence. Students are also encouraged to seek out scholarships from external entities. AIU also offers institutional scholarships and grants ranging from single-year grants and one-time aid packages, to recurring financial aid options that can be reapplied for future semesters throughout a student's educational career. Active duty students, veterans or military spouses may be eligible for specialized aid.

Online offerings

American Intercontinental University is organized into schools offering online degree programs in a variety of academic areas including:

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Criminal justice
  • Design
  • Education
  • Healthcare management
  • Information technology

All of AIU's online education courses use online learning technology, retaining a consistent format in each class. Interaction is asynchronous, so students can sign on, respond to message boards and see professor notes at their own convenience, 24/7. Online programs are available in a variety of pacing options to help students integrate school into their lives. Many AIU professors are industry specialists who bring their real-world experience into the classroom.

Highlighted programs

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

The Bachelor of Business Administration combines a wide variety of specializations with courses taught by industry specialists. This enables students to gain an up-to-date, real-world perspective on topics of interest to them. Additionally, the business administration degree programs at AIU are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

According to AIU, the BBA requires 180 credits, of which 40.5 are within the student's selected specialization. Examples of specialization coursework on the entrepreneurship track include Taxation, Budgeting, Building Teams and Resolving Conflict, Employment and Labor Law, Project Management, Advanced Entrepreneurship, Team Leadership, Technology Management and the Program Capstone.

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

The Master of Education program and its specializations are designed to deliver an industry-based and contemporary review of current education practices combined with an understanding of educational technologies. American Intercontinental University's M.Ed. is not designed to meet state educator licensing requirements. It may, however, assist students in gaining licensure in their state of residence depending on those requirements.

The M.Ed. at AIU was awarded Teacher Education Accreditation Council initial accreditation for a period of two years, from October 2013 to October 2015. Available specializations include adult education and training, curriculum and instruction for educators, instructional design and technology, leadership of educational organizations, classroom integration of technology and educational assessment and evaluation. The M.Ed. is 48 credit hours, of which 24 must be specialized credits.

Student life data

According to 2014 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), by demographic, the university's undergraduate online student population breaks down as follows:





Over age 25


American Indian or Alaska Native




Black or African American




Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander




Two or more races




Source: National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, accessed March 22, 2015

Broken down by type of degree:

Type of degree/certification






Undergraduate part-time


Undergraduate full-time


Graduate part-time


Graduate full-time


Source: National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, accessed March 22, 2015



American Intercontinental University, 22 March 2015, http://www.aiuniv.edu/

American Intercontinental University, MUSE, 22 March 2015, http://www.aiuniv.edu/online-campus/online-education/personalized-learning/muse-online-learning-platform

American Intercontinental University, Intellipath, 22 March 2015, http://www.aiuniv.edu/online-campus/online-education/personalized-learning

National Center for Education Statistics, American Intercontinental University, Enrollment, March 22, 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=american+intercontinental+university&s=all&id=445027#enrolmt

The Computerworld Honors Program 2009 Finalists, Computerworld Honors Program, 2009, http://www.cwhonors.org/laureates/finalists2009.htm

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