According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Kaplan University is the second largest college in America with just over 71,000 students enrolled within one of their many curriculum each year. Of course, a large portion of those attendees complete college classes online while the rest commute to one of eleven physical locations in Iowa, Maine, Maryland, and Nebraska. The past decade has been especially favorable to Kaplan with an increase of nearly 20,000 students from 2000-2010. So what’s their secret for such rapid growth?
According to the Kaplan website, the vast majority of their success can be attributed to understanding the differences between each of their individual students-
“We understand nontraditional students — working parents, late bloomers, career changers — have obligations beyond school. As a university that’s student driven for driven students, you’ll attend classes in a flexible learning environment with schedules designed to fit your life. With the freedom to take classes on campus, or online, on your terms, you have the opportunity meet academic requirements without sacrificing personal or professional duties.”
By planning course schedules and curriculums to fit a variety of different needs, Kaplan University leads the way in giving students the flexibility to graduate literally on their own terms. With flexible class schedules, easy to contact instructors, and a fantastic sport staff, Kaplan has paved the way for distance learning educations to eventually surpass traditional teaching methods within the very near future.
Real Evaluation Periods
Another big draw to Kaplan University is their “Kaplan Commitment” program, which allows students to enroll and attend the first five weeks of any class absolutely free of charge. Unlike other universities, there are no hidden obstacles written in the fine print and no lengthy processes in order to avoid having to pay tuition fees. Students simply register, pay the registration fee, and then decide five weeks later whether or not they actually want to complete the course and pay for it. If they decide to drop out or take a different course, then the only cost to the student is initial registration fee.
Here’s the documentation describing the five week evaluation process-
• “Week 1: You’ll begin the five-week introductory period, during which you’ll get exposed to our curriculum, faculty, and classroom or online platforms. If at any point during the introductory period you decide we’re not right for you, you can opt out with no tuition cost or other financial obligation to Kaplan University, except for the application fee.”
• “Week 5: This is the checkpoint week. It marks the end of your introductory period, and is the time to let us officially know if you no longer wish to continue. Otherwise, if you’re meeting our academic standards, and have submitted all required documentation, you will move forward with your Kaplan University education. If applicable, you will receive your specific financial aid package.”
In essence, the “Kaplan Commitment” is a lot like test driving the new vehicle…only the experience lasts for about 35 days instead of just a couple of hours. Other online colleges do offer similar programs but none of them are as easy to back out from and the vast majority do require the student to pay the full tuition costs up front (which defeats the idea of an evaluation period in the first place).
Unrivaled Faculty and Staff Access
One of the final factors that have allowed Kaplan University to expand so fast is the dedication of their teaching and support staff. Few other institutions go to the lengths that Kaplan does in order to ensure that students are never left wondering about a specific problem that they do not know how to properly handle. For many subjects, staff members are available on call 24 hours a day to answer any questions that may arise and students are encouraged to e-mail the professors if further clarification is ever necessary. Replies are normally sent during the same business day and often within a few hours if the professor is contacted during college hours. This level of excellence is what sets Kaplan apart from even its sternest of competitors and it serves as a classic example of how streamlined distance-learning institutions have become over such a short period of time.