Program Completion Rates
We operate as an online university primarily educating working adults. Because the vast majority of our student population is part-time, we believe it to be important to report both the graduation rates as we are obligated to report to the U.S. Department of Education and the graduation rates that we track to measure our success at educating a different student population. We allow 10 years for a student to earn a bachelor’s degree and 7 years for an associate or master’s degree. Doctoral programs were implemented in Fall 2017. Doctoral candidates have 7 years to complete their degree.
As can be seen from the data included in footnotes 1, 2, and 3 in the chart below, a large number of bachelor’s degree students need more than six years to complete their degrees. The student cohorts included in the below chart are for the 12-month period of September 1 to August 31. For comparison purposes among the bachelor’s students, the cohort for whom the graduation rates were generated by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is included among our student population graduation rates, as indicated by the footnoted entries in the chart.
IPEDS 150% represents the graduation rates that were generated by IPEDS that reflect the students in that cohort who completed their degree at 150% of the time that it would take a full-time student.
New to Our University includes all degree-seeking students who started in a designated calendar year and who completed at least one course that year. This population includes full-time and part-time students.
Non-First-Time students includes students who transfer credits to APUS from another institution(s) or who are returning to our university for another degree (i.e. associate degree graduates returning for a bachelor’s degree).
Classic Students are defined as any undergraduate student who has transferred at least nine credit hours to us and completed at least 15 credit hours of our courses or a graduate student who has completed at least six credit hours at our university. This is the term that we use as our primary classification for calculating graduation rates. The classification and methodology were proposed by a working group organized by the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC). A white paper was published in July 2012, and as one of the largest providers of higher education to U.S. military personnel, we decided to align our graduation reporting with this. Upon further study, we concluded that the methodology applies to civilian working adult students as well, so there is no need at this time to distinguish between military and non-military students.