Now more than ever, earning a college degree via the internet is a smart move. This is why many students, including working professionals, consider attending online schools, such as Walden University. It helps make getting further education easier for working professionals alright, but is Walden University a good school?
Walden University, a for-profit online school, is good for students who are too busy for traditional classes. It offers more than 80 online degrees suited for working professionals. The school is also good for applicants with a GPA of 3.0 and above and are unhappy with their SAT or ACT scores.
Read on if you are thinking about going to Walden University to earn a college degree without leaving your home. Below are some of the most important matters that you need to know about this for-profit online school.
Facts About Walden University
Walden University was established in 1970 by Bernie Turner and Rita Turner, husband and wife and both of whom are New York teachers. The goal of the couple for founding the school was to make higher education more accessible to busy adults, especially working professionals, who needed learning.
The first-ever Walden University class was held in 1971 in Naples, Florida. It’s made up of summer class students who needed help with their dissertation topics so that they could go back to school in the fall well prepared.
Before the advent of the internet, distance learning was administered via mail. And when the web came into being, Walden University was one of the few schools that turned distance learning into a digital form. However, because of the internet, the school does not offer on-campus learning these days — its classes are offered online exclusively.
To date, Walden University offers many online courses, from accounting to elementary reading and mathematics.
Walden University Accreditation
Since 1990, Walden University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). It’s just back in 2013 when HLC reaffirmed the accredited status of the school. This means that Walden University has consistently met or even surpassed the high standards set by the said accrediting body.
To prove the authenticity and dependability of HLC, it’s one of six regional accrediting associations recognized by both the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Besides the accreditation provided by HLC, Walden University also has specialized accreditation. Put simply, specialized accreditation is given to a degree program, usually a professional one that leads to certification or licensure. The following are some of the accrediting bodies that gave Walden University specialized accreditations:
- Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
- Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
Is Walden University regionally or nationally accredited?
HLC, the one that’s been giving Walden University’s accreditation since 1990, is a regional accrediting body. This makes Walden University regionally accredited. The other accreditation form, national accreditation, is considered less prestigious and widely accepted than regional accreditation.
One of the nicest things about attending a regionally accredited school, such as Walden University, is that it makes going from one learning institution to the other as trouble-free as possible.
For instance, the credits you earned from one regionally accredited school are easily transferable to another regionally accredited school. It doesn’t matter if you are going from one online school to another online school or one that offers traditional classes — what’s important is that both schools have regional accreditation.
Here are some other details on the school’s accreditation status:
- Allows access to federal aid and, sometimes, state financial aid, too.
- Offers confidence in the academic quality and standards to people evaluating the students’ transfer credit from one school to the other.
- Provides confidence in employers when assessing the job credentials of potential employees.
- Instills assurance in terms of tuition support for applicants who are currently employed but would like to pursue further education at the same time.
Is Walden University a diploma mill?
Walden University is not a diploma mill. Also called a degree mill, a diploma mill is a phony school that sells diplomas, transcripts and degrees instead of an educational experience. On the other hand, Walden University offers education to its students, and it’s an accredited school, too.
Many people think that Walden University is a diploma mill. That’s because, besides the fact that its classes are offered online exclusively, it’s also a for-profit school.
However, as mentioned earlier, while talking about whether it’s accredited or not, Walden University is an accredited school. This means that an accrediting body responsible for its accreditation has found that the school offers legit programs and degrees, and was able to meet or surpass high expectations, too.
However, it’s important to know that some diploma mills are also accredited, albeit by bogus accrediting bodies.
Does Walden University require SAT or ACT?
Walden University does not require SAT or ACT score submission. It is one of the many test-optional schools that do not consider standardized tests as an effective measurement of a student’s knowledge and potential. Admissions requirements vary from across the online programs of Walden University.
Many students who are unhappy with their SAT or ACT scores feel stressed and anxious, knowing that some of their target schools may refuse to accept them.
If you are one of them, you will be more than happy to know that Walden University will not ask you to submit your SAT or ACT scores together with the rest of the admissions requirements. Also, the school has an open admissions policy, which means that everyone with a high school diploma or GED certificate may apply and go to the school.
When applying to Walden University online, an enrollment specialist is available to lend a hand.
To get into Walden University, a student will need to have a GPA of 3.0. For many colleges and universities, a GPA of 3.0 to 3.5 is good enough, especially for most for-profit schools. Due to this, many for-profit schools, such as Walden University, have higher acceptance rates than non-profit ones.
Just because Walden University (and many other for-profit schools, too) does not require its applicants to have really high GPA doesn’t mean that it’s not a reliable school that offers programs employers won’t take seriously.
After all, it’s not only a high GPA that can help students get accepted to the schools they are applying to — there are other things that can increase their chances of getting welcomed to the school of their preference.
Some of them are letters of recommendation, personal statement, student goals, resume and interview performance.
How much does it cost to go to Walden University?
A bachelor’s degree at Walden University can cost around $62,795. A master’s degree, on the other hand, can cost about $25,875. Tuition at Walden University can range anywhere from $335 to $950 per semester hour.
Because Walden University is a for-profit school, it doesn’t come as a surprise why attending it can cost more than attending a non-profit school.
It’s a good thing that, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), an entity that collects, analyzes and presents data related to education in the US, up to 46% of the school’s full-time students enjoy $12.69 million in financial aid.
Walden University offers numerous institutional awards and limited-time savings programs.
Eligible students could also get a 15% tuition reduction as veterans and alumni/family discounts.
What is Walden University known for?
Since it was established, Walden University has been known for supporting working professionals who would like to pursue further education. Today, it’s well-known for offering high-quality online learning, with the majority of its top programs ideal for powering the success of working professionals.
The online degrees offered by Walden University, amounting to more than 80, span disciplines as varied as criminal justice, health sciences, management, education, human services, counseling, psychology, nursing, public health, public information and information technology.
By the way, Walden University takes pride in the fact that it’s the sixth school approved by the US government to provide direct assessment competency-based learning.
Introduced in 2015, the school’s competency-based learning experience allowed its students to go at their own pace in completing the requirements to earn their chosen college degrees. Through this, if you are a working professional, you can use your work experience to accelerate your progress.
Walden University, based on the reviews of its students, has an overall score of 4.2 stars. According to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Ranking, Walden University is number 182 in Public Health, 186 in Computer Science, 261 in Social Work and 284 in Best Public Affairs Program.
It’s not uncommon for students to have a long list of colleges and universities to which they would like to apply. Narrowing down their list to a small one can help make the application process less stressful and nerve-racking.
Walden University may not be making a splash on various online college ranking sites alright. However, a survey by the school seems to say otherwise.
For instance, 88% of Walden University alumni say they are likely to recommend the school to others. Also, up to 89% of Walden University graduates say they are happy with their alma mater.
The survey adds that over 97% of the graduates’ employers say they would hire another Walden University graduate.
A total of 50,360 students are currently enrolled at Walden University. Of those, 8,024 students are enrolled in undergraduate programs. On the other hand, 42,336 are enrolled in graduate programs. The figures make it clear that the majority of Walden University students are working professionals.
Based on 2016 data, Registered Nursing was the most popular bachelor’s degree at Walden University. A total of 1,028 of the said degree was awarded to graduating students.
It’s then followed by General Psychology (148 degrees were awarded to graduating students) and General Business Administration and Management (148 degrees, too, were awarded to graduating students that year.
Famous people that went to Walden University
Many of those who attended Walden University are politicians, the majority of which are current and former members of the House of Representatives. Some Walden University alumni are politicians outside the US. Other famous people who went to Walden University are researchers, actors and athletes.
Because Walden University is both a for-profit school and an online learning institution, some people can’t help but refrain from taking the school seriously. However, knowing that some notable people have earned their college degrees from it can help prove that Walden University is legit after all.
Here are some Walden University well-known alumni whose names may ring a bell:
- Chandra Dillard. Since 2009, Chandra Dillard has been a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from the 23rd District. She is also serving as the Secretary of the House Ethics Committee and House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee these days.
- John Antonakis. Born and raised in South Africa of Greek parents, John Antonakis is the current editor-in-chief of The Leadership Quarterly, a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary social science journal. He’s also an organizational behavior professor at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Lausanne.
- Thomas Drake. A United States Navy and United States Air Force veteran, Thomas Drake used to be a senior executive of the US National Security Agency (NSA). He is also a founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and has a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Walden University.
- Katie Arrington. From 2017 to 2019, Katie Arrington served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from the 94th district. In the general election in 2018, she lost to Democratic nominee Joe Cunningham. She held a position for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment later on.
- Karen Cummings. A Guyanese politician, Karen Cummings was Guyana’s Foreign Minister from 2019 to 2020. When she became a member of the parliament back in 2014, she advocated for health reform and gender equality. In 2016, Karen Cummings enrolled at Walden University to earn a Doctorate in Public Health.
- Yehiel Mark Kalish. An ordained Orthodox rabbi, Yehiel Mark Kalish is currently a Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 16th district. The only rabbi to serve in the Illinois State Legislature, he is the brother of Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a member of the Colorado House of Representative in Denver.
- Frederick Carrick. Back in 1996, Frederick Carrick earned his Ph.D. in Education from Walden University. The founder of Carrick Institute for Graduate Studies in Cape Canaveral, Florida, he is currently a senior researcher at the Bedfordshire Centre for Mental Health Research, which is associated with the University of Cambridge.
- Omar Palos. Since 2017, Omar Palos has been active in show business. Everybody knows him as Manuel in Falsa Identidad, an American drama TV series that premiered on Telemundo in 2018 and began airing on Netflix in 2019. Omar Palos has a double degree in Administration from Walden University.
- Thet Thet Khine. A well-known businesswoman in Myanmar, Thet Thet Khine owns several jewelry-making companies in the country. The Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar, her interest in being a politician began in 1988 when she was a student and a protester, too.
- Kishore Shallow. A former president of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, Kishore Shallow is currently the president of Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control and vice president of Cricket West Indies. Hailing from Saint Vincent, an island country in the Caribbean, he has a doctorate from Walden University.
- Jacob Lozada. A 27-year veteran of the United States Army, Jacob Lozada was nominated by President George W. Bush as the Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, he earned his Ph.D. in Education from Walden University.
Just Before You Apply to Walden University
More and more students choose to earn their degrees online, including especially working professionals who would like to further their education without quitting their current jobs and at the same time without putting their health and the health of their loved ones at risk.
Luckily, there are many schools operating on the web. Some of them offer online and on-campus classes. However, there are also those that offer online classes exclusively, and Walden University is one of them.
Walden University is a good school, despite the fact that some students think that going to it is not worth their time and money since it’s both an online and a for-profit school.
But since Walden University is a regionally accepted school, it cannot be denied that it’s a legit school offering legit programs and degrees.
In October 2021, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent notices to 70 for-profit schools seeking civil penalties. While the notice claims that this is “NOT an indication that it has done anything wrong”, the FTC’s goal is to prevent using illegal or deceptive tactics that leave students with high debt and poor career outcomes.
Walden University was on the list.
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.