Is Waldorf University Online a Good School?

A for-profit liberal arts school in Forest City, Iowa, Waldorf University offers online degrees. And now you may be wondering if it’s a good online school that can make your resume impress potential employers.

Waldorf University Online is ideal for non-traditional students who wish to obtain legitimate online degrees from an accredited institution rather than a diploma mill. Because the degrees it offers can be completed purely online, the school is suited for students who cannot go to a physical campus.

Many students and their parents, too, are wary of online schools as they could be diploma mills in disguise.

If you are thinking about applying to Waldorf University Online, don’t stop reading now.

That’s because we will discuss just everything you need to know about this online school, from how it does in college rankings to how much money its graduates make per year. After reading this article, you will realize if applying to it is a wise move.

What is Waldorf University Online Known For?

Waldorf University Online started in 2010, offering three online programs. It happened after its traditional campus partnered with Columbia Southern University (CSU), an online institution. Today, Waldorf University Online has certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs online.

In 1903, Waldorf University, the traditional school, was founded. Such was the result of the Great Hotel War of Forest City, which was a war between two of Forest City, Iowa’s very first-upper class hotels.

Most of the school’s life was spent being a small, non-profit liberal arts college associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its predecessors. However, in 2010, it became a for-profit school. It was also during this year when Waldorf University Online first came into being.

Currently, the online school offers various associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, all of which can be completed via the internet. For some of its online programs, hybrid classes are available.

There are also online certificate programs Waldorf University Online offers.

According to the school’s website itself, its online certificate programs are designed for current or future professionals who wish to advance their knowledge and skills related to their respective careers or industries.

However, the available online certificate programs can also serve as a stepping stone for Waldorf University Online undergraduate degrees.

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Waldorf University Online Rankings

Waldorf University Online is #119 to #157 in Regional Universities Midwest by US News. The ranking site also puts it at #138 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. Meanwhile, Waldorf University Online is #4 in Most Diverse Colleges in Iowa and #775 in Most Liberal Colleges in America, both by Niche.

College rankings should be taken with a grain of salt. That’s because they can be very subjective — just because a school is on the top of the list of a college ranking site doesn’t mean it should also be on the top of your college list.

However, paying college ranking sites a visit can help you quickly come across some of the best colleges and universities according to certain factors, in particular those that you find very important. And it’s because of this why getting an idea of how Waldorf University Online does in college rankings can help you choose an online school wisely.

The following are some other rankings of Waldorf University Online by various college ranking sites:

  • #2 in Most Popular Online Fire Protection Schools (College Factual)
  • #3 in Best Quality Control Technology Schools (College Factual)
  • #4 in Most Popular Online Engineering Technologies Schools (College Factual)
  • #14 in Most Liberal Colleges in Iowa (Niche)
  • #258 in Most Diverse Colleges in America (Niche)

Is Waldorf University Online an Accredited School?

Besides the school itself, the online degrees Waldorf University Online offers are accredited, too. The accreditor responsible for it is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which is recognized by both the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Prior to applying to an online school, there is one very important step students have to take beforehand. And it’s none other than checking whether or not the institution offering online degrees is accredited.

The absence of accreditation should make you look for another online school because it is most likely to be a diploma mill.

So, in other words, the degree you will earn from it is worthless and thus not accepted by employers. Having no accreditation is just one of the various characteristics of a diploma mill. Fortunately, Waldorf University Online is not a diploma mill because it is an accredited school.

Its accreditor, HLC, is a regional accrediting agency that accredits institutions for higher education in 19 states in the North Central region. Needless to say, Waldorf University Online has regional accreditation, which is widely considered more prestigious than national accreditation.

Here are some of the perks of attending a regionally accredited school like Waldorf University Online:

  • Transfer of earned credits from college to college
  • Recognition of an undergraduate degree by graduate schools
  • Better financial aid options
  • Increased value in the job market after graduation

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Is Waldorf University Online a Diploma Mill?

Since it has regional accreditation from an accrediting agency recognized by both the USDE and CHEA, Waldorf University Online is far from being a diploma mill. This means that the various online degrees students can earn from the institution are worth something and respected by employers, too.

Earlier, we mentioned that one of the telltale signs an online school is a diploma mill is that it’s not accredited. Still, even if it says it’s accredited, the accreditor is not a legitimate or recognized accrediting agency.

There is one more characteristic that diploma mills share: the absence of a physical campus or office.

It’s exactly because of this why Waldorf University Online should not be mistaken for a diploma mill. Besides being regionally accredited by a legit accrediting agency, the online school has an existing campus right in the heart of Forest City, Iowa.

Needless to say, the school has both online and traditional students.

Due to the fact that it has a physical campus, Waldorf University Online offers hybrid or blended classes. As the name pretty much suggests, these are classes that combine virtual and face-to-face sessions.

So, in other words, if you have never experienced going to a traditional college, you may consider going for a degree from the online school with hybrid classes. This will allow you to become a well-rounded student, which could come in handy when it’s time for you to be a part of the workforce.

Related Article: How to Know If a College is a Diploma Mill [10 Signs]

How Much Does It Cost to Attend Waldorf University Online

The cost of an online undergraduate program at Waldorf University Online is $310 per credit hour. On the other hand, the cost of an online graduate program at the institution is $410 per credit hour. Completing an online program at Waldorf University is cheaper than completing a traditional program.

For financial aid purposes, the federal government defines a full-time college student as someone who is taking at least 12 credits per semester. At most US colleges and universities, students take 12 to 18 credits per semester.

What’s really nice about attending an online school is that you can earn a degree at your own pace.

So, in other words, you can get your hands on a bachelor’s degree from Waldorf University Online faster or slower — it all depends on how many credits you will take per semester.

When deciding the right number of credits for you, take your everyday schedule into account to make sure that your college GPA won’t suffer.

Based on the cost per credit hour above, being a full-time undergraduate student at Waldorf University Online amounts to $3,720 per semester. That’s equivalent to $7,440 per academic year. On the other hand, being a full-time graduate student at the institution costs $4,920 per semester — or $9,840 per academic year.

Whether you are a busy individual or trying to stay within budget, earning a degree from Waldorf University Online is so much cheaper than earning it by attending its physical campus.

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated cost of attending Waldorf University for the academic year 2021 to 2022:

Comprehensive Fee$1,232
Room and Board$8,062
Waldorf University Online Cost of Attendance

It’s true that the cost of earning a degree from Waldorf University Online is cheaper than earning a degree in the traditional manner. However, the availability of scholarships for online students helps make the cost of college so much easier on the pocket.

Some of those that are available for eligible Waldorf University Online students include:

  • Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation Scholarship
  • Columbia Southern Education Group (CSEG) Reach Scholarship
  • Family Focused Scholarship
  • Grace Darling Seibold Scholarship
  • Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship
  • John Thompson National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) Scholarship
  • Learning Partner Scholarship
  • Mississippi Fire Service Memorial Scholarship
  • Scholarships America

Acceptance Rate at Waldorf University Online

The acceptance rate at Waldorf University Online is 66%. With more than half of all applicants admitted, the online school has a moderate selectivity level. In order to increase one’s chances of receiving an offer from Waldorf University Online, one must meet the various admissions requirements.

Diploma mills will accept applicants for as long as they can pay the asking price. Because not everyone who applies to Waldorf University Online receives an acceptance letter, the school is clearly not a diploma mill.

It may not have the lowest acceptance rate alright. However, Waldorf University Online doesn’t have the highest acceptance rate, either.

But since it’s not like other online and traditional schools with an open-admissions policy, which means that the acceptance rate is 100%, having an application that can impress its admissions officers is a definite must.

The steps to applying to Waldorf University Online as a student are as follow:

Creating a myWALDORF account

Since Waldorf University Online does not accept the Common App and Coalition App, you will have to apply via its own online portal. It all starts by creating a myWALDORF account. Having one allows you to edit or update your application at any given time until you are ready to apply.

Submitting official transcripts

When applying to Waldorf University Online and providing the school with your official transcripts, you have a couple of options. First, you can mail it to the admissions office via email. Second, you can use the Waldorf Transcript Request Service to get your official transcript from your previous school.

Waiting for an evaluation

After conducting a comprehensive evaluation of your application, Waldorf University Online’s admissions officers will send you a detailed evaluation report. It will contain some important matters such as accepted transfer credits, courses that require completion, and instructions on enrolling your selected online program.

Enrolling in the chosen online program

The remaining step to take after receiving an offer from Waldorf University Online is enrolling. In case your official transcripts are not yet available, you will still be allowed to enroll online. However, it will be under the so-called Temporary Admissions Status. This makes you eligible to take up to 12 credits.

Before creating your myWALDORF account to apply, you may use a college chances calculator to have an idea of whether or not your chances of getting accepted into Waldorf University Online are high.

What Kind of Students Attend Waldorf University Online

The current number of students attending Waldorf University Online amounts to 2,343. The majority of them are aged 30 and over, which means that a huge percentage of the school’s population consists of non-traditional students. Over 50% of Waldorf University Online attendees are full-time students.

Most online colleges and universities attract non-traditional students. It isn’t surprising because most of those who already have jobs or are busy raising a family do not have the time to go to a physical campus.

Based on data available online, 73% of undergraduate students attending Waldorf University Online are completing their degrees via the internet exclusively. This means that only a small portion of the school’s student body is taking hybrid classes.

On the other hand, 100% of graduate students currently enrolled are taking online classes exclusively.

Age-wise, a large majority of Waldorf University Online’s students are non-traditional students, which serves as proof that online schools primarily cater to students who would like to get their hands on a degree but couldn’t step foot inside physical classrooms like the rest, in particular those who are fresh from high school.

Let’s take a look at the demographics of the students at Waldorf University Online according to age:

Below 182%
18 to 199%
20 to 2110%
22 to 2410%
25 to 2915%
30 and above54%

And now, here’s the demographics of Waldorf University Online’s students based on race or ethnicity:

Native American1%
Native Hawaiian1%

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How Much Do Waldorf University Online Graduates Make

The average starting salary per year of Waldorf University Online graduates amounts to $30,300. After 10 years of graduation, they receive a much higher average salary per year, which amounts to $40,100. Waldorf University Online has a Career Center available for current students and alumni members.

Before anything else, let’s briefly talk about the fact that Waldorf University Online has a low graduation rate of 35%. If truth be told, it’s not because of the institution per se but the types of students that attend it.

Earlier, we mentioned that online schools tend to attract non-traditional students.

The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) says that, compared to traditional counterparts, non-traditional students have significantly lower retention rates and graduation rates.

So, in other words, it’s common for non-traditional students to fail to graduate on time or at all.

It’s because of this why the graduation rate at Waldorf University Online isn’t as high as the graduation rates at most traditional colleges and universities, where a large majority of their attendees are traditional students.

As a general rule, the more students are the traditional kind, the higher the chances of a high graduation rate.

After earning their degrees, Waldorf University Online’s graduates have annual earnings of $30,300 on average. Then, about eight years after graduation, their annual average earnings climb up to $36,100. And, after 10 years of graduating from Waldorf University Online, they make an average of $40,100 per year.

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Keep in mind that the average annual salaries of Waldorf University Online graduates can vary based on an assortment of factors. Some of them include the degree earned, location, industry and years of experience.

Just Before You Apply to Waldorf University Online

Because Waldorf University Online is a legitimate and regionally accredited institution operating on the internet, ending up with a bogus online degree should be the least of your worries.

Above, we talked about an assortment of things interested students need to know about the online school.

Make sure that you consider all important factors, from the available degrees, cost of attendance to potential earnings after graduation, before applying to Waldorf University Online. By comparing it with some other online institutions worthy of being on your college list, too, you will have an idea of whether or not it’s the right school for you.

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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.

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