Kaplan University, a long-time leader in adult education, is well-known for its online programs, although it also has various campuses in the US where students may earn degrees traditionally. Like degrees from other online schools, you may be wondering if a degree earned from Kaplan is worth something.
Before anything else, it’s important to point out the fact that Kaplan University, as we know it, no longer exists.
Since Purdue University obtained it, Kaplan was renamed Purdue University Global. Continue reading if you are not aware of this. Below, we will talk about the acquisition of Kaplan. We will also discuss other matters about the online school you need to know about, including how it fares against some schools, before you decide to apply to it.
Purchase of Kaplan
In April 2017, Purdue University, which is located in West Lafayette, Indiana and also the flagship school of the Purdue University system, announced that it purchased Kaplan University.
Believe it or not, the public research school bought Kaplan for a very small price of $1 only.
The acquisition was arranged by Mitch Daniels, a former Republican governor and the president of Purdue University. While some employees of Purdue University thought that the purchase was intended to destabilize the school’s commitment to public education, Daniels pointed out that it was tied to the school’s goal of extending its programs online.
As part of the agreement, Purdue University acquired Kaplan University’s assets. They include more than a dozen campuses across the US and an estimated 3,000 employees and 30,000 students.
However, as mentioned above, the faculty members of Purdue University did not receive the acquisition very well. Likewise, the Indiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), whose mission is ensuring higher education’s contribution to the common good, among other things, was unhappy with the deal, too.
Despite this, the incorporation of Kaplan into Purdue University was completed in 2018.
As a matter of fact, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) voted unanimously to approve the acquisition in August of the same year. What’s more, in the following month, the US Department of Education (USDE) gave the purchase a thumbs up, although it stipulated that the school’s name should include “Purdue”.
Needless to say, this is the reason why the name Purdue University Global came into being. According to Daniels, the name is meaningful and appealing to the stakeholders and prospective students.
Because online degrees prove to be beneficial these days, especially for working adults who do not fit the mold of traditional students capable of going to physical schools for four years, it doesn’t come as a surprise why many colleges and universities are merging to offer more accessible and cheaper degrees online.
For instance, in early 2020, the University of Arizona, a land-grant public school just like Purdue University, announced that it acquired Ashford University, a private, for-profit online school, to create the University of Arizona Global Campus, which will focus on adult learners. The union was completed in December of the same year.
Many institutions followed suit. The University of Massachusetts, for instance, announced a partnership with Brandman University. The same is true with the American Public University System teaming up with Rasmussen University.
Related Post: How Good Is Purdue Global?
Before applying to any school, traditional or online, it’s a must to check that it’s accredited.
There are three reasons why it’s a good idea to attend an accredited institution, especially if you are after an online degree:
- Degree earned is likely to be respected by employers.
- Eligibility for financial aid in the form of grants.
- Credits earned are transferable to other accredited colleges and universities.
Answering “is Kaplan a legitimate school?” is as simple as figuring out whether or not it’s accredited. Before Purdue University acquired it, the online school had accreditation.
The agency that gave Kaplan University online degree programs their accreditation was the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1895, HLC is one of the six regional institutional accrediting agencies in the US. HLC is recognized by both the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
What HLC accredits are postsecondary institutions in the country that provide degrees.
Besides HLC, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), an agency that accredits quality business programs all over the planet, has also granted Kaplan accreditation.
Since it’s regionally accredited, credits earned by students from Kaplan University are transferable to other colleges and universities, especially those with regional accreditation. However, many students, as you will read about in a few, complained that the schools they were applying to did not accept credits they earned from Kaplan.
Alas, that happens — the receiving school has the power to determine transferability of credits. So, in other words, Kaplan accreditation problems credit transferability-wise can happen to any school.
Now that Kaplan University is officially a part of Purdue University and now known as Purdue University Global, it’s still accredited by the same accrediting agency before the merging: HLC.
There are many online schools HLC also accredits, and some of them include:
- Andrews University
- Baker College Online
- Ball State University
- Capella University
- Crown College
- Eastern Michigan University
- Ferris State University
- Huntington University
- Lewis University
- Marshall University
- Michigan Technological University
- Ottawa University Online
- Prescott College
- Tabor College
- Triune University Online
- University of Akron
Some negative Kaplan University reviews may say that the school isn’t properly accredited. Still, the fact remains that a legit accrediting agency accredited it before it became Purdue University Global, which is also properly accredited.
By the way, the institution that acquired Kaplan, Purdue University, is accredited by HLC itself.
Complaints and Lawsuits
No matter which colleges or universities they go to, students will surely be divided into two groups: happy and unhappy ones.
It goes without saying that the various Kaplan University complaints on the internet are from people who are not at all pleased with their learning experience at Kaplan or the outcome of completing a program from it.
Most students head to review or forum sites when shortlisting schools. Not too many of them remember to pay the website of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) a visit.
BBB has been helping people find businesses and brands that they can trust for more than 100 years now. This private, non-profit organization even provides accreditation to those that meet its standards. And this is why if you are searching for Kaplan University complaints, the BBB’s website is a good starting place.
Currently, there are 18 complaints filed against Kaplan. The majority of complaints posted on the website of BBB have something to do with unsatisfactory college experience, faulty system, and non-transferable credits.
BBB points out that Kaplan was acquired by Purdue University in 2018, and it’s now referred to as Purdue University Global. And when searching for Purdue University Global on the agency’s website, a total of 45 complaints exist.
Most of the complainants said they didn’t get withdrawn from their respective online programs as soon as possible upon request, thus causing them to pay for classes they didn’t take. The majority of them said they couldn’t get their transcripts from Purdue University Global to transfer to other schools unless they paid their balance.
Before Purdue University acquired Kaplan University, a handful of lawsuits were filed against it.
For instance, Kaplan was accused of employing instructors who were not eligible to teach Medical Assistant courses. The online school, in addition, requested and received federal tuition funds for its Medical Assistant program. After the investigation, Kaplan University had to pay around 289 students stipend checks of more than $1 million.
Under the settlement, Kaplan also had to refund the federal financial aid it obtained.
Related Post: 10 Signs of a Diploma Mill
Kaplan University offered 180 online programs. Some of them are more popular than the rest. A few examples of online programs from Kaplan many people take include:
- Business Administration
- Legal Studies
- Criminal Justice
- Health Sciences
- Information Systems and Technology
Before applying to an online school, it’s not enough that you check out reviews of the institution. Taking a look at the reviews of the program you are planning to complete from the school is important, too. Doing so will give you an idea of how those who have earned them are doing right now.
Here are some customer reviews on some of Kaplan’s online programs:
Kaplan University Business Administration Reviews
Someone who took a Business Administration program from Kaplan said he found the entire experience a sound investment. He added that it’s because he knew what he was getting himself into before enrolling, such as paying more than attending a state university and having more discipline and hard work since the program is entirely online.
But others are unhappy with their time at Kaplan. For instance, one person stated that the student support at Kaplan University was terrible. Another ex-student said he had a hard time transferring credits earned to another school.
Kaplan University Criminal Justice Reviews
Reviews of Kaplan’s Criminal Justice program by those who took it are divided. One reviewer was happy that his academic advisor was always around each time he had a question. However, he stressed that the online Criminal Justice program was so hard it’s not suitable for lazy people.
On the other hand, someone who took the same program was unhappy with the experience, although he admittedly wasn’t so sure about his impression since he had no prior college experience.
Kaplan University Medical Assistant Reviews
A Medical Assistant student who was on his third term at Kaplan said he had smart and helpful instructors, although he found the course challenging. He added that he checked if another school would accept the credits he earned from Kaplan University to take a Physician Assistant program but received a negative response from the admissions office.
One reviewer said that he completed his Medical Assistant program from Kaplan University in 2010. However, he had trouble getting hired as a medical assistant despite having a certificate from the online school.
Kaplan University Medical Billing and Coding Reviews
The majority of people who reviewed Kaplan University’s Medical Billing and Coding program had nothing positive to say. For instance, one former student said he wasn’t happy with the school’s service. He added that it seemed like none of the companies in the healthcare industry was able to recognize his certification from Kaplan.
Another individual said he was pleased with his experience with Kaplan. However, he wasn’t too thrilled that the Medical Billing and Coding program from the online school was too easy, which failed to prepare him for the real world.
Kaplan University Nursing Program Reviews
As expected, opinions on Kaplan University’s Nursing program are divided. A former Kaplan student said that the credits he earned from the Nursing program were accepted by a school where he took a Masters of Nursing program.
On the other hand, another reviewer stated that the cost of completing a Nursing program from Kaplan was too steep, and the clinical settings were bad. Another ex-Kaplan student complained that he was not pleased with the learning experience, although it could be a subjective matter since not everyone is fit to take online classes.
Kaplan University Nutrition Degree Reviews
A Kaplan student said she was very happy with the overall experience with the school. What she liked about the Nutrition Science program from Kaplan is that it’s self-paced, which is ideal for a military wife with kids like her.
But then one reviewer pointed out that a potential employer did not take his Nutrition Science certificate from Kaplan University seriously. Someone else who took Kaplan University’s Nutrition Science program found the cost to be too high, which revealed the fact that the online school is a for-profit institution.
Kaplan University Early Childhood Education Reviews
While there are positive reviews on Kaplan’s Early Childhood Education program, there are negative ones, too. However, the majority of them are directed toward the learning experience, not the program itself. For instance, one former student was displeased with the fact that the school wouldn’t let him drop out, allegedly to get more money from him.
A military wife who took the Early Childhood Education program from Kaplan University, on the other hand, was very happy with the entire experience. As a matter of fact, she encouraged her military husband to enroll, too.
Kaplan University no longer exists. Instead, it’s known as Purdue University Global since it was acquired by Purdue University in 2018.
Like Kaplan, Purdue University Global is also accredited by the same accrediting agency: HLC. Because both USDE and CHEA recognize HLC, there is no doubt that it’s a legit online school.
Above, we talked about some of the most important matters about Kaplan, from its acquisition by a land-grant public school, lawsuits and complaints received, to individual customer reviews of some of its offered online programs.
It’s completely up to you if you will send an application to Purdue University Global. No matter your decision, keep in mind that an online degree is just as challenging to complete as a traditional degree.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.