About Kaplan University

Are you committed to achieving your educational and career goals? Kaplan University not only offers online programs, but campus-based and blended programs in fields such as social and behavioral sciences, business, criminal justice, education, health sciences,  information systems and technology,  legal studies, and nursing. Students can earn associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees as well as certificates and diplomas.

Who We Are 

Kaplan University is a part of Kaplan Higher Education LLC, which is a subsidiary of Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company. Kaplan, Inc.'s wide range of products includes programs for kids and schools, test preparation, higher education, and professional training. Each of our offerings helps students reach an important milestone in their education and careers.

Our Mission

Kaplan University is an institution of higher learning dedicated to providing innovative undergraduate, graduate, and continuing professional education. Our programs foster student learning with opportunities to launch, enhance, or change careers in today’s diverse global society. The University is committed to general education, a student-centered service and support approach, and applied scholarship in a practical environment.

Our Purpose

To accomplish its mission, Kaplan University has established the following purposes:

  • Provide academic programs that have been developed and assessed by faculty, staff, and members of educational, professional, and business communities.
  • Provide intensive and comprehensive instruction using both onsite and online modes of delivery that strengthens student academic achievement.
  • Instill in its students the value of lifelong learning by stimulating intellectual curiosity, creative and critical thinking, and awareness of culture and diversity.
  • Plan and provide facilities and resources that respond to the needs of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Assist students in developing professional attitudes, values, skills, and strategies that will foster success in their careers and in life.
  • Prepare students to meet the ever-changing needs of their communities now and in the future.

Our Vision

We are a lifelong partner for career improvement by delivering a best-in-class educational experience with an unmatched commitment to student success.

Our Values

Our core values define our culture and provide the framework for what we deliver to our students and employees each day.

  • Integrity: We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards in everything we do.
  • Knowledge: We offer expert resources to help you achieve your academic and career best.
  • Support: We give you the tools you need to succeed.
  • Opportunity: We open doors and broaden access to education.
  • Results: We're dedicated to helping you achieve your goals—we succeed when you succeed.

Where It All Began

Stanley H. Kaplan

In 1938, Stanley H. Kaplan believed that everyone deserved an education and started offering tutoring services to those eager to expand their opportunities.

A History of Access and Innovation in Education

It was the late 1930s and the country was still feeling the effects of the Great Depression. Men and women alike need to work. Companies were looking to hire employees with formal schooling, and more and more people needed access to local postsecondary education.

Access to Education

In 1937, a small school named the American Institute of Commerce (AIC) in Davenport, Iowa, opened its doors to do just that. And, in the years that followed, the individuals running the school remained dedicated to providing the coursework that would prepare students for the workplace.

While the proprietors of this small groundbreaking school were changing lives of many in the rural midwest, a man named Stanley H. Kaplan was creating access to education in his own right.

“Not many people got a chance for a college education, not back then. Many people were lucky just to get a high school education.”
- Richard Ackerberg, graduate of the American Institute of Commerce

Challenging Traditions

In 1938, Stanley H. Kaplan started a small business offering tutoring services to immigrant families eager to expand their opportunities in America and improve their education. He believed that everyone deserved an education, and that with the right training and coaching they’d be able to attend the same prestigious institutions of higher learning that had typically been reserved for an exclusive class of society. He wanted to change the traditional attitude toward enrollment and create access for those seeking education.

Over the next years and decades, Kaplan, Inc., grew to become a leader and innovator in tutoring and test preparation, aiding individuals preparing for entrance into colleges of every caliber.

In 1975, the Federal Trade Commission concluded that test preparation, like that provided by Kaplan, helps students raise their test scores. This led to legislation to help make the university admissions process more transparent and encouraged more students to believe a college education was within their reach.

Meanwhile, AIC was making its mark in the education sector in Iowa — growing in size and course offerings. A momentous turning point occurred in 1999 when the school was included as 1 of only 15 participants in the U.S. Department of Education’s Demonstration Grant, allowing them to offer distance education courses via the Internet. It didn’t take long for the program to grow in popularity, thus growing the need for more educational support resources and know-how.

Kaplan, with its experience in creating and fostering innovations in educational access, was the answer. In 2001, AIC (which had recently been renamed Quest College) became Kaplan College. It was in this year that 34 students were enrolled to take all of their courses exclusively online.

“During our second year, we had about 500 students taking at least one course online. And so there was getting to be a larger amount of numbers.
- John Huston, President, AIC 1979–1998

A Foundation for Continued Advancement

Today, Kaplan University continues to make advancements and expand its programs and accreditations. In July 2003, Kaplan College began offering bachelor’s degree programs online in areas such as paralegal studies, information technology, criminal justice, and more. In 2004, upon receiving approval to offer master’s degrees in education, the school was officially renamed Kaplan University, raising the bar for its academic offerings.

In 2011, Kaplan University expanded opportunities for working adults by adding additional entry-level and ongoing professional licensing programs through its School of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE).

  • 1937–American Institute of Commerce


    The University was originally established as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC) in 1937. AIC subsequently changed its name to Quest College.

  • 2000–Quest College Becomes Kaplan College

    History of Kaplan College
    In November 2000, Kaplan, Inc. acquires Quest Education Corporation and changes the name of Quest College to Kaplan College. Quest College (formerly American Institute of Commerce) is based out of Davenport, Iowa, with a support center and 77 employees for its online students in Boca Raton, Florida.

  • 2004–Kaplan College Becomes Kaplan University

    Andy Rosen

    August 2004: Andrew S. Rosen, President and COO, Kaplan, Inc., takes the helm as President and CEO of the College.

    September 2004: Kaplan College becomes Kaplan University after it is approved to offer graduate degree programs.

  • 2005–New Master's Degree Programs

    History of KUJanuary 2005: Kaplan opens a new 100,000-square-foot building in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to house a student support center.

    August 2005: The University launches online master’s degree programs in business administration and criminal justice.

    December 2005: The Iowa Department of Education approves the University’s online Master of Education (now called the Master of Arts in Teaching) and Teacher Intern Certificate.

  • 2006–School of Nursing Accreditation

    History-Nursing February 2006: Kaplan breaks ground for a twin building at its Fort Lauderdale facility on West Cypress Creek Road.

    April 2006: Kaplan University’s School of Nursing is awarded national professional accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

    May 2006: Kaplan University's bachelor's degree in nursing program receives initial accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

    September 2006: Kaplan University launches Bachelor of Science degrees in communication and legal studies, three new Associate of Applied Science degrees in the health sciences and a certificate program in corrections—the largest program launch in the University’s history.

  • 2007–New Campuses

    CR- Exterior
    May 2007: Kaplan opens its second 100,000-square-foot Fort Lauderdale facility along West Cypress Creek Road to accommodate its booming growth. The two 100,000-square-foot facilities accommodate 1,500 employees.

    June 2007: The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is awarded full approval by the Iowa Board of Nursing.  

    September 2007: Kaplan University launches over a dozen new programs, including master’s degrees in management, nursing, and higher education.

    October 2007: Concord Law School merges with Kaplan University, becoming the first fully online law school to be part of a regionally accredited University.  

    October 2007: Hamilton College’s seven campuses in Iowa and Nebraska merge with Kaplan University.

  • 2008–Concord Law School 10th Anniversary

    About CLS January 2008: Kaplan University launches a Master of Science in Legal Studies.

    April 2008: Kaplan University launches a new master’s degree in information technology, and a specialization in college administration and leadership as part of its online Master of Science in Higher Education program.

    August 2008: Concord Law School of Kaplan University celebrates its 10th anniversary.

    November 2008: Kaplan University opens its third Fort Lauderdale location, a 26,000-square-foot space at 6600 N. Andrews Avenue, designed to accommodate its growing employee base and new business initiatives.

    November 2008: Kaplan University announces the launch of its new Military Student Support Center and a suite of new services for active-duty servicemembers.

    November 2008: Kaplan University announces plans to open a new online student support center in Orlando, Florida, bringing hundreds of new jobs to Orange County over the next 4 years.

    November 2008: Andrew S. Rosen, the President of Kaplan, Inc., CEO of Kaplan Higher Education, and CEO and President of Kaplan University, is named Chairman and CEO of Kaplan, Inc.

  • 2009–Grand Openings

    HA Entrance February 2009: Jeff Conlon, President of Kaplan Higher Education Campuses, is named President of Kaplan Higher Education, which includes 70-plus campuses in the United States and abroad, as well as online programs through Kaplan University.

    March 2009: Kaplan University launches a new Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology.  

    April 2009: Kaplan University hosts a grand opening and ribbon cutting to celebrate its new online student support center in Orlando.

    July 2009: Kaplan College’s Hagerstown and Frederick campuses in Maryland merge with Kaplan University.

    July 2009: Kaplan University announces the launch of 13 new online degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Management and three degrees in fire science.

    October 2009: Kaplan University announces the opening of its new Plantation, Florida, facility, a 118,743-square-foot building. The new space houses admissions officers and online student support staff as well as a Kaplan University Learning Center designed to provide face-to-face support to local online students.

    November 2009: Kaplan University announces the launch of five new specializations for its master’s and bachelor’s degree programs, including specializations in project management, human resources, and online college teaching.

  • 2010–Introducing The Kaplan Commitment

    KC Tassel March 2010: The Kaplan University Board of Trustees announces the appointment of Wade Dyke, DPhil, as President of Kaplan University. Dyke, who served as interim President since August, succeeds Andrew S. Rosen, who is now the Chairman and CEO of Kaplan, Inc. Dyke served as President until 2015.

    April 2010: Kaplan University announces the launch of its new online Master of Public Administration and Master of Science in Education in Instructional Technology degrees, as well as two new emphasis areas and eight accelerated degree programs.

    May 2010: Concord Law School of Kaplan University announces the debut of its online Small Business Practice LLM (Master of Laws) program, the first in the country focused solely on legal issues confronting small businesses.

    June 2010: Kaplan University celebrates the grand opening of its new Learning Center in Plantation, Florida.

    September 2010: Kaplan University announces the appointment of Geri H. Malandra, PhD, as provost.

    September 2010: Kaplan University launches the Kaplan CommitmentSM, which allows students to take classes for credit during an introductory period without incurring any financial obligation beyond the application fee.

    October 2010: Kaplan University announces the launch of several new online programs, including a Master of Science in Fire and Emergency Services, a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development, three specializations, and seven certificates.

    November 2010:  Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.®  approves Kaplan University's Applied Behavioral Analysis Postbaccalaureate Certificate and Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis programs as meeting course sequence requirements for the BACB examination.

    December 2010: Military Advanced Education magazine listed Kaplan University among America’s Top Military Friendly Colleges and Universities for the third year in a row.

  • 2011–New Programs and Graduations

    History Chicago February 2011: Kaplan University celebrates the graduation of 5,600 students at its commencement ceremony in Miami.

    February 2011: Kaplan University announces the launch of a new Master of Science in Health Education degree program as well as seven new specializations, three new certificates, and two new technology tracks.

    April 2011: Kaplan University announces the launch of a new Master of Science in Finance degree and an Advanced Medical Coding Certificate.

    August 2011: Kaplan University celebrates the graduation of more than 7,200 online students, thousands of whom watch the ceremony via a live webcast from their homes and around the country. The Honorable Alexis M. Herman addresses more than 1,000 Kaplan University online graduates at the live commencement in Chicago.

  • 2012–Kaplan University Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

    75thMarch 2012: Kaplan University celebrates winter graduation at James L. Knight International Center in Miami, Florida.

    March 2012:  Kaplan University School of Nursing Honor Society is inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society as the Phi Rho Chapter.

    August 2012: Kaplan University celebrates commencement at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago.

    September 2012: Kaplan University celebrates its 75th anniversary with a symposium of staff and students. This uplifting video features graduates from the 1940s to the present sharing heartfelt stories of success at Kaplan University.

    September 2012: The colleges of Public Service and Public Safety are formed.

  • 2013–Seven Business Programs Achieve ACBSP Accreditation

    February 2013: Kaplan University celebrates commencement at the James L. Knight International Center in Miami, Florida.

    February 2013: The first cohort of Prelicensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program students begin their online coursework to start classes at the Augusta campus in 2014.

    May 2013: Kaplan University launches the Doctor of Nursing Practice program within the School of Nursing.

    July 2013: Kaplan University celebrates commencement at the Chicago Theatre.

    July 2013: Seven programs in Kaplan University's School of Business achieve accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), demonstrating they have met standards of business education that promote teaching excellence.

    July 2013: The Society for Human Resources Management acknowledges Kaplan University's Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Management, and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in human resources align with its HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates.

    November 2013: Military Times names Kaplan University to its top 20 Best for Vets list of schools offering online education to military veterans.

  • 2014–Launch of Open College

    open collegeJanuary 2014: U.S. News & World Report ranks Kaplan University's Online Bachelor's program at #56 of 278 programs and Kaplan University's Online Graduate Nursing program at #70 of 128 programs.

    February 2014: Fast Company recognizes Kaplan University's information technology programs in its recognition of Kaplan, Inc., as the world's third most innovative education company.

    February 2014: Kaplan University is accepted into the second cohort of The Higher Learning Commission's Academy for Persistence and Completion.

    February 2014: Kaplan University celebrates winter graduation at the James L. Knight International Center in Miami, Florida.

    April  2014: The schools of Arts and Sciences, Public Safety, and Legal Studies merge to create the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences with Dr. Sara Sander named as dean and vice president.

    May 2014: With more than 40 years of experience, Dr. Chandice Covington joins Kaplan University as the vice president and dean of the School of Nursing. The School also marked its 10th anniversary in 2014.

    July 2014: Kaplan University celebrates commencement at the Chicago Theatre.

    September 2014: Kaplan University's Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Management with concentrations in project management receive accreditation by the Project Management Institute.

    November 2014: The schools of Business and Information Systems and Technology merge to form the School of Business and Information Technology.

    October 2014: Kaplan University launches Open College and offers a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies, designed with a large pool of open electives for people who have work, life, and other experience that may translate into college credit.

    November 2014: Kaplan University begins offering courses on base at Fort Bliss. (Courses offerings are later expanded to Fort Benning and Fort Irwin bases.)

  • 2015–New Kaplan University President and Programs

    sample compentencyFebruary 2015: The School of Graduate Education is renamed the School of Education and becomes part of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    April 2015: Forbes ranks Kaplan #92 of 500 U.S employers in America's Best Employers ranking.

    April 2015: Open College at Kaplan University receives two Open Education Consortium awards―the OEC Leadership Award honoring Dr. Peter Smith, the founding president of OC@KU, and Outstanding Site for Education Excellence.

    June 2015: Kaplan University charters a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa with more than 100 students inducted as founding members in an online ceremony.

    July 2015: Kaplan University launches five new programs: Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management, Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, Bachelor of Science in Finance, Human Services Certificate in Elder Care Services, and Human Services Certificate in Child and Family Services.

    June 2015: Kaplan University celebrates commencement at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago.

    July 2015: Kaplan University pioneers modular course pilot in which students may demonstrate mastery of course content through articulations and course assessments.

    August 2015: Kaplan University introduces the Master of Science in Human Services program.

    October 2015: Kaplan University’s Board of Trustees announces that Dr. Betty Vandenbosch has been appointed President of Kaplan University. Dr. Vandenbosch succeeds Dr. Wade Dyke, who served as Kaplan University President since 2009.

    November 2015: For a consecutive year, Kaplan University is named by Military Times as a Best for Vets Institution.

    November 2015: Kaplan University introduces a Tuition Cap on select programs and launches 11 new programs under the Cap: Medical Office Administration Certificate, Bachelor of Science in Corrections, Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Administration, Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Addictions, Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Applied Behavior Analysis, Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Industrial/Organization Psychology, Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology, Associate of Applied Science in Legal Support and Services, and Associate of Applied Science in Public Safety and Security.

    November 2015:  Kaplan University's Indianapolis, and Milwaukee learning centers transition to full campus status.

  • 2016–First Student Support Center Opens

    KU logoJanuary 2016: For the third consecutive year, Kaplan University is included in the rankings of "Best Online Bachelor's Programs" by U.S. News & World Report.

    April 2016: Kaplan University opens its first Student Support Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

    June 2016: Kaplan University hosts commencement at the Rosemont Theatre outside of Chicago.

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