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School history

Founded in 1938 by Stanley H. Kaplan, Kaplan is perhaps best known for its prep courses and software for tests such as the SATs and GRE. The American Institute of Commerce had a similarly long history, having been founded in 1937, but was dedicated to preparing individuals for the workplace. The two missions aligned in 2001, when AIC (having been recently been renamed Quest College) became Kaplan College.

From modest beginnings of 34 students taking courses online, Kaplan has expanded significantly. The first major milestone was becoming Kaplan University in 2004 upon being approved to offer graduate programs. The university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). It also boasts a variety of programmatic approvals and additional accreditations including:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.
  • The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • The Program Management Institute Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
  • Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Commission on Dental Accreditation
  • Recognized as an official Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education institution by the U.S. Fire Administration

Additional approvals, accreditations and restrictions vary by state. No matter which program a student chooses, Kaplan University describes itself as being "dedicated to serving students who may not be well served by traditional postsecondary education institutions." Many of its students are nontraditional students with careers and families.


Today, Kaplan University offers 18 associate degrees, 25 bachelor's degrees, 27 master's degrees and the doctor of nursing practice degree. They also offer a variety of professional and academic certificates as well as professional law degrees. Kaplan University offers in-person campuses in a variety of states including:

  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Wisconsin

However, its strength and their focus is in its online degree programs, accounting for 94 percent of Kaplan University students. According to U.S. News & World Report, Kaplan ranks #79 for online bachelor's programs.

Cost to attend

According to Kaplan University's Academic Report: The Year in Review 2013-2014, total program tuition for graduates averaged $31,030. It's important to note, however, program costs depend on a variety of factors including undergraduate or graduate status and the number of credit hours required to complete the program. Students seeking professional certifications or licenses may have to fulfill additional requirements for the relevant professional body.

Financial aid

Because Kaplan is regionally accredited, students are eligible for several federal loans and grant programs including:

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford loans
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

Students may also be eligible for state based aid in their state of residence. Additionally, Kaplan University offers a variety of scholarships who meet criteria set by the University ranging from academic merit to financial need, including:

  • Single-Parent Scholarship
  • Kaplan University 75th Anniversary Grant
  • Military Family Scholarship Program
  • High School Achiever Scholarship

Students are also encouraged to seek out scholarships from external entities. Resources for doing so are readily available from Kaplan's website. International students may have resources at their disposal as well. It's also important to keep in mind many Kaplan online students are full-time professionals in addition to being graduate students. Students in online degree programs may not experience the loss of income that many full-time students pursuing their degrees at traditional universities do.

Online offerings

The majority of Kaplan University's degree and certificate programs are available as online degree programs. The university is organized into schools offering programs in a variety of academic areas including:

  • Business
  • General Education
  • Graduate Education
  • Health Sciences
  • Information Technology
  • Nursing
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

Unlike traditional classroom experiences, Kaplan University's web-based programs allow students to tailor their curricula and plan class and study time to fit their unique schedules. This also enables the university to recruit leading educators and practicing business professionals from anywhere in the world. Students can navigate lessons and take web field trips from the comfort of home or their laptop, and communicate with fellow students and faculty via both email and message boards. Current students as well as alumni can take advantage of Kaplan University's Career Network.

Highlighted programs

Here are a few of the standout programs on offer at Kaplan University:

Psychology, Master's Degree

Kaplan's psychology programs prepare students to pursue careers in special-needs areas such as child development, applied behavioral analysis and addictions. The course sequence in applied behavioral analysis is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB). Graduates who meet additional BACB requirements including degree, field experience and practicum may be able to sit for the examination to become a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst or Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Students who complete the addictions specialization within the master's degree in psychology program will meet the coursework requirements to take the National Board of Certified Counselors' Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) certification examination.

BS in Business Administration with a career focus area in human resources

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has acknowledged Kaplan's BS in Business Administration with a career focus area in human resources fully aligns with its HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program focuses on helping students become effective, efficient managers.

The BS degree requires 180 total program credits, of which 33 are bachelor's core credits (general education) and the remainder of which are specific to the major/degree. Examples of major courses include business math and statistical measures, introduction to management, finance and marketing. Coursework in the human resources focus area includes employment staffing, employee training and development, as well as employment law.

The career focus area is completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan. Because 53 of the degree's credits are open electives and the career focus area in human resources coursework is only 24 credits, students may opt to seek an additional career focus area as part of their BS coursework. Options include financial analysis, information systems management and marketing

Student life data

According to Kaplan's Academic Report: The Year in Review 2013-2014, by demographic, the university's student population breaks down as follows:





Over age 30




Active Military


Broken down by type of degree:

Type of degree/certification


Certificates and other










The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) also provides additional demographic data on the 11 traditional campus locations. While campus students take 61 percent of their courses online, their data is associated with their campus location while online-only program data are aggregated separately.

If you'd like to find out more about Kaplan University in general, or a specific program you're interested in, scroll back up top and click the "Request Info" button below the school logo.


"Kaplan University | Online College Courses - Campus and Online University," Kaplan University, January 2015, http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/

"Kaplan University Facts and the Annual Report," Kaplan University, January 2015, http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/about/annual-report.aspx

"Kaplan University," U.S. News and World Report, January 2015, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/kaplan-university-4586/bachelors

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