Walden University

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Walden University is an online for-profit university headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Walden University offers Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Education Specialist, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Business Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Walden University
Walden Seal Color 200px.png
Seal of Walden University
MottoA higher degree. A higher purpose.
TypePrivate online for-profit
PresidentWard Ulmer[1]
Location, ,
United States
CampusPrimarily online[3]
Walden Logo Stacked No Tag 250px.png

Walden is a part of a global network of universities managed by Laureate Education Inc.[4] The university's academic offices are in Minneapolis, Minnesota and its administrative offices are in Baltimore, Maryland.[5]


Walden University's former headquarters in the Mill District of Minneapolis

Walden was established in 1970 by two New York teachers, Bernie and Rita Turner, who created a program for working adults/teachers to pursue doctoral degrees. In the summer of 1971, the first classes took place in Naples, Florida, focusing primarily on school administrators. The initial classes allowed students to form dissertation topics with their faculty partners before returning to work at their respective schools while completing their dissertations. In 1972, Walden conferred its first degrees: 46 PhDs and 24 EdDs at its first commencement in Naples.

In 1979, the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board licensed Walden to grant PhDs and EdDs in the state and in 1982 the school moved its headquarters to Minneapolis. In 1990, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the University. In 1995, the school expanded its offering with the nation's first fully online master's program in education, offering a Master's in Educational Change and Technology Innovation.[citation needed]

Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., purchased 41 percent of Walden University in 2001,[6] gaining a controlling interest in 2002.[7] In 2004, Sylvan Learning Systems became Laureate Education, Inc. Former US President Bill Clinton was an Honorary Chancellor of Laureate International Universities from 2010 to 2015. [8] President Clinton was the keynote speaker at Walden University's commencement on July 30, 2011. Jonathan Kaplan served as CEO from 2007 to 2018. Mr. Kaplan previously served three years as economic policy adviser to President Clinton.[9]

In 2013, Laureate Education Inc. and GSV Capital, IFC, Learn Capital and Yuri Milner provided $43M in funding to Coursera to expand online education.[10] In 2015, Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico and director of the Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization, succeeded President Clinton as Laureate Education's Presidential Counselor.

In 2016, Looney and Yannelis (Brookings Institution) reported that Walden University student loan debt was the second highest in the US, with 120,275 students owing 9.833 billion dollars. While the 5-year student default rate was low (7 percent), the percentage of balance repaid on the loans was 0 percent. [11]

According to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Walden University graduated the largest number of African American doctoral students from 2011-2015. [12] From 2013 to 2017, the number of doctorates "awarded to Blacks" from Walden University was 969, more than two and a half times the number conferred by Howard University, which awarded 344 doctorates during the same period.[13]

In 2019, Laureate Education Inc. contemplated selling off the school.[14] Dr. Ward Ulmer serves as president of Walden University. Dr. Ulmer was previously senior vice provost for Strayer University. [15] Paula Singer serves as the CEO.

Institutional financesEdit

Walden University receives more than 75% of its funds from the US government, including more than $750 million a year for graduate student loans, the largest amount for any US college.[16] Walden University has been under heightened cash monitoring from the US Department of Education since 2016.[17]

On April 8, 2016, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education notified Walden University that its renewal application to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) was rejected because Walden University did not have a US Department of Education financial composite score of 1.5 or higher.[18]

In 2018, Brookings Institution reported that Walden's graduate 5-year student loan repayment rate was 13 percent.[19]


Walden University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[20]

Accredited professional programsEdit

  • Walden's Richard W. Riley School of Education and Leadership is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)[21][22]
  • Walden's PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision; MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; and MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).[23][24]
  • Walden University's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
  • Walden University's BS in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Executive MBA, Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and PhD in Management programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
  • Walden's MS in Project Management program is accredited by the PMI Global Accreditation Center (GAC) for Project Management Education Programs.
  • Walden's Masters of Social Work is Council of Social Workers Education (CSWE) accredited, an accreditation needed to get licensed as a social worker in most states.
  • Walden's BS in Information Technology is one of only a few online programs accredited by ABET, the internationally recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.[25]
  • Walden University is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.[26]

Unaccredited professional programsEdit


Walden University consists of five colleges:

  • Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership: The Riley College of Education has graduated more than 28,000 educators and currently enrolls over 16,000 students from all 50 states.[3]
  • College of Management and Technology
  • College of Health Sciences
  • The Barbara Solomon School of social work and human services
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Alumni and facultyEdit

According to College Navigator, Walden University has 204 full-time instructors and 2,821 part-time instructors.[28]

  • John Antonakis (Ph.D. in applied management and decision sciences)
  • Chandra Dillard (MPA, member South Carolina House of Representatives)
  • Thomas A. Drake (a former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower)
  • Jacob Lozada (nominated by U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director to serve as the Human Resource Agency's Special Advisor to the Director of OPM for Diversity Strategy)

Student outcomesEdit

Walden's 3-year student loan cohort default rate (CDR) is 6.8%; the national average is 11.8% for all US institutions. A study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) found that the average annual federal student loan amounts of Walden graduate degree borrowers is similar to the federal loan amounts of students at public and private non-profit institutions.[29]1.7 to 3 percent of Walden students defaulted on loans between 2005 and 2008. The average default rate at for-profit universities is 17.1 to 22.6 percent, and the average default rate for all US colleges is 8.4 to 12.3 percent.[30]

According to the US Department of Education's College Scorecard, Walden University has an 11 percent graduation rate, a 30 percent student loan repayment rate, and a median income of $50,100 after attending.[31]


Walden University and its parent company Laureate International Universities have been linked to former US President Bill Clinton, his wife and former US Senator and Secretary of State (and Presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation.[32][33][34] Republican Advisor Daniel Runde, formerly head of Foundations Unit for the Department of Partnerships & Advisory Service Operations at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group), formally debunked many insinuating claims made regarding the Clinton Foundation, Laureate Education, and the IYF.[35] The World Bank currently has invested $150 million in Laureate Education, Walden University's parent company. Fact checkers at The Washington Post concurred, citing the claims as conflated and inaccurate.[36] Fact checkers at PolitiFact.com also found the claims to be false.[37] A story in the Sept 5, 2016 edition of The Washington Post also investigated Clinton's role with Laureate and found many of the political claims to be false.[38]

In October 2016, NBC News reported that the Minnesota Office of Higher Education was investigating a spike in student complaints.[39] NBC News further reported that former students had filed a class action suit against the school for prolonging their enrollments for years, "until they were left hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and still short of a degree."[40]


Walden University sponsors several peer-reviewed and refereed academic journals.

  • International Journal of Applied Management and Technology[41][42] (ISSN 1544-4740)
  • Journal of Social Change[42] ( ISSN 1931-1540)
  • Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences[42] ( ISSN 1948-3260)


  1. ^ "About Our Accredited Online University". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  2. ^ https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=walden+university&s=all&id=125231
  3. ^ a b c Kaplan, Jonathan A. (May 4, 2010). "Testimony of Jonathan A. Kaplan, President of Walden University" (PDF). House.gov. Education and Labor Committee, US House of Representatives. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  4. ^ "Our Network". laureate.net. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010.
  5. ^ https://catalog.waldenu.edu/content.php?catoid=164&navoid=56183
  6. ^ "Sylvan Ventures invest $32.8 million in school". bizjournals.com. February 5, 2001.
  7. ^ "Sylvan Gains Controlling Interest in Walden". Highbeam.com. Archived from the original on 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  8. ^ "President Bill Clinton Accepts Role As Honorary Chancellor Of World's Largest University Network". thestreet.com (Press release). PRWeb. 2010-04-26. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  9. ^ "Jonathan Kaplan, J.D." WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Coursera Secures $43M in Funding From GSV Capital, IFC, Laureate Education Inc., Learn Capital and Yuri Milner to Expand Free, High Quality Online Education" (PDF). shareholder.com (Press release). Mountain View, California: GSV Capital. July 10, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  11. ^ Looney, Adam; Yannelis, Constantine. "A Crisis in Student Loans? How Changes in the Characteristics of Borrowers and the Institutions they Attended Contributed to Rising Loan Defaults" (PDF). brookings.edu. Brookings Institution. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  12. ^ https://www.jbhe.com/2017/02/the-heavyweight-champion-of-black-doctoral-degree-awards/
  13. ^ {{cite journal |title=The Universities Awarding the Most Doctoral Degrees to Black Scholars"The Universities Awarding the Most Doctoral Degrees to Black Scholars". Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. December 24, 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  14. ^ https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2018/11/09/laureate-mulling-sale-walden-university
  15. ^ https://www.waldenu.edu/about/faculty/meet-our-faculty/member-profile/ward-ulmer
  16. ^ Baylor, Elizabeth (8 July 2015). "As Graduate-Student Debt Booms, Just a Few Colleges Are Largely Responsible". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  17. ^ "The surprising list of colleges whose financial management has the government worried". The Washington Post. March 18, 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  18. ^ "FORM S-1 Registration Statement for Laureate Education, Inc". sec.gov. US Security and Exchange Commission. May 20, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  19. ^ Lee, Vivien; Looney, Adam. "Headwinds for graduate student borrowers: Rising balances and slowing repayment rates". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  20. ^ "About Our Accredited Online University". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  21. ^ "Walden's Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership Receives NCATE Accreditation". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  22. ^ "State by State List of Accredited Institutions". NCATE.org. National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  23. ^ "CACREP Accreditation – M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Directory". CACREP.org. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  25. ^ "Accreditation". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  26. ^ "National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense". nsa.gov. National Security Agency, US Dept. of Defense. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  27. ^ "PhD In Psychology". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  28. ^ "Walden University". College Navigator. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  29. ^ Soldner, Matthew (June 2016). "A First Look at Student Loan Data Deficits: Improving Borrower Data for Institution Decision Makers" (PDF). waldenfacts.com. American Institutes for Research. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  30. ^ Stratford, Michael (July 30, 2012). "Senate Report Paints a Damning Portrait of For-Profit Higher Education". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Washington. Retrieved November 7, 2017 – via Chronicle.com.
  31. ^ https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/?125231-Walden-University
  32. ^ "Subscribe to read". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  33. ^ Kimes, Mina; Smith, Michael (January 18, 2014). "Laureate, a for-profit education firm, finds international success (with a Clinton's help)". Washington Post. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  34. ^ Thomas, Cal (June 15, 2016). "Hillary Clinton most bought, paid for candidate". The Washington Times. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  35. ^ Runde, Daniel. "International Youth Foundation and Laureate Education Solve Important Global Problems". Forbes.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  36. ^ Lee, Michelle Ye Hee (June 27, 2016). "Trump campaign's claim that State Department gave $55.2 million to Laureate Education after hiring Bill Clinton". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  37. ^ "Trump claims Hillary Clinton laundered millions of dollars". PolitiFact.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  38. ^ "Inside Bill Clinton's nearly $18 million job as 'honorary chancellor' of a for-profit college". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  39. ^ "Minnesota puts for-profit college once tied to Bill Clinton under review". NBC News. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  40. ^ Schecter, Anna (December 2, 2016). "Student Sues Walden University: 'I Wasted Six Years of My Life'". NBC News. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  41. ^ "International Journal of Applied Management and Technology". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  42. ^ a b c "Publications and Journals". WaldenU.edu. Walden University. Retrieved 20 January 2015.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 44°58′52″N 93°15′56″W / 44.98111°N 93.26556°W / 44.98111; -93.26556