American Public University System (APUS), wholly owned by APEI (NASDAQ: APEI), operates through American Military University and American Public University. It serves a community of more than 100,000 adult learners worldwide and offers degree programs in fields ranging from homeland security, military studies, intelligence, and criminal justice to technology, business administration, public health, and liberal arts.
APUS’s mission is to provide quality higher education with an emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities by offering respected, relevant, accessible and affordable, student-focused online programs, which prepare them for service and leadership in a diverse, global society.
Founded in 1991 by a retired Marine Corps officer and instructor, AMU was designed to meet the needs of the military—a very mobile population with extended, irregular schedules and unique educational needs. AMU is the nation’s number one provider of higher education to the U.S. armed forces according to U.S. Department of Defense tuition assistance statistics.
In 2002, AMU was reorganized into American Public University System and American Public University was founded to provide access to the same quality, affordable, and relevant education to a broader audience of motivated working adults.
APUS is a three-time recipient of the Sloan Consortium Effective Practice Award and has been recognized for significant contributions to sustainability initiatives. The school is a for-profit institution headquartered in Charles Town, West Virginia with administrative offices in Manassas, Virginia. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Today, APUS offers more than 190 degree and certificate programs in six schools: School of Arts and Humanities, School of Business, School of Education, School of Public Service and Health, School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and School of Security and Global Technologies. The most popular degree programs are:
- Associate Degree in General Studies
- Homeland Security
- Criminal Justice
- Strategic Intelligence
- Information Technology Management
- Sports and Health Management
- Business Administration
- Intelligence Studies
Managing Academics Online
The online programs work best for students who prefer asynchronous education and wish to learn based on their own schedule and in their own environment. Students have the flexibility of completing assignments on their own time according to a predetermined assignment schedule. Courses are offered in 8- or 16-week sessions. During the first week of class, students are expected to login to their classroom, read the course syllabus, and interact on the discussion board with classmates and professors.
The university protects and seeks to improve its academic standards and curriculum relevancy by asking students to complete confidential online class critiques after every term. Students who do not perform well their first term may receive an academic warning. This warning serves as a notice to the students to raise their grade point averages (GPA) above a 2.0 during the next term to avoid academic probation.
The online library contains millions of resources for students. This includes Web-based information literacy skills training, monthly news about library resources, a tutorial department, article and subject databases, and manuscript repositories. APUS makes strong use of interlibrary loan programs and provides students with the resources they need to effectively perform their studies and research, no matter how remote. The library tutorial center also offers collections of select student papers to serve as examples of well-done research and written execution. Papers are routinely submitted for authenticity using leading plagiarism-checking systems such as Turnitin.com.
Some exams administered through classes are proctored. Before a proctored exam, the professor will mail a password to the proctor. The proctor will then monitor the exam process in person as the student completes the test online. Students are responsible for helping to identify a suitable proctor. Non-proctored exams can be taken by the student in private.
Appropriate proctors include college or university administrators, faculty members, superintendents, or principals. Other acceptable options include public librarians, school librarians, and military base education officers. Various professionals may be approved by the university, particularly if none of the aforementioned professionals are available for proctoring. The proctor must have an email address and the ability to provide computer access to the student for up to four hours. If it is not possible to meet these conditions, a proctor may print the exam for the student to complete; monitor the exam, and then mail it to the professor. APUS understands that many students study and take exams under less-than-ideal conditions, and is open to taking appropriate steps that may be needed to ensure an ideal setting for students to take their exams.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admissions are considered open enrollment. The system seeks to provide education for any person, and especially any member of the military, who wishes to pursue it.
The financial aid office works with all students to ensure that their education is affordable. Military students using tuition assistance components that are part of their benefits package often end up paying little to nothing out of pocket.
Student Financial Aid Details
Of the more than 100,000 enrolled students, approximately 57% are active duty military. Most are continuing education learners who already work in the profession they are studying. Eighty percent of students are male, while 20% are female. The average age of students is 32. The student body is comprised of students from all 50 states and from more than 100 countries.
Clubs and Organizations
The Office of Student and Alumni Affairs promotes and encourages student involvement as an essential component of the student experience. Involvement in recognized organizations can provide a variety of opportunities to explore academic, professional, political, social, cultural, recreational, and community service interests. Those clubs and organizations include Student Veterans of American (SVA), Society of Human Resource Management, International Association of Emergency Managers, and more. There are several academic honor societies, such as Alpha Phi Sigma, Delta Epsilon Tau, Epsilon Pi Phi, Golden Key International Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu, and Sigma Iota Rho.
The APUS Student Lounge is a website of both private and open discussion forums. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff have personal, professional, and academic conversations in the Student Lounge.
The student newsletter is published quarterly. It features current university news and events, including art exhibitions, career fairs and opportunities, and alumni events.
The school also connects with students, prospects, and alumni on their more than 100 social communities.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Several distinguished members of the military have attended APUS. United States Air Force officer Nicole Malachowski is a an alumnae. She was the first woman pilot chosen to fly in the USAF Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Unit.
Noted faculty members include Alan Hale, the co-discoverer of the Hale-Bopp Comet; geologist and former astronaut James F. Reilly; and Fox News contributor Dani Babb.
Additional School Information
The Careers Services office fosters relationships with employers to help connect students with careers based on their education and experience. They provide career planning counseling and networking opportunities to current students and alumni. Career Services also offers résumé review service to help students to fine-tune their résumés, highlight their strengths and experiences, and target the careers and employers they want. The Vault Career Library and Focus-2, an interactive online program, help students choose an education plan and career path.
The university holds regular career fairs, both virtual and in-person, helping students, alumni, and prospective employers begin their relationships. The Employer Partnership Program takes these relationships one step further by matching qualified students with mentors and internship supervisors who can guide them as they search for ideal employment. APUS connects its communities of peers through university-affiliated groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs, and other social networking sites.
The system of education depends upon student integrity. Students and faculty members are required to sign and uphold the honor code, which entails accepting responsibility for actions, practicing and promoting academic integrity, showing consideration and respect for all persons, and upholding APUS policies. Solicitation from students is prohibited by APUS. Students cannot sell goods or services to professors, staff, or fellow students. The only exceptions are informational documents about activities or charitable causes.
Most of the terms of the honor code are fairly commonsense and similar to what would be found at any other college or university campus, with one possible exception. The use of obscenities is not allowed in any classroom, online discussion, or other contact with university faculty and staff. This includes the online Student Lounge.
Students may choose to keep their contact information private—a sometimes necessary condition for active members of the military. Any student in this position should request a directory information block. Other students and faculty must respect requests for discretion.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.