The “Myths” About Online Education

I received an email from a student asking me what he could do when people state that American Military University (AMU) or American Public University (APU) are “diploma mills” or unaccredited.  I thought I would post my response.

The “myths” that AMU or APU are diploma mills or unaccredited are invalid.  In most cases, the myths are more than likely disseminated by individuals who do not care for online colleges and universities.  Faculty and staff members of accredited institutions that operate partially online or totally online have heard the negative perceptions about online education for years and have worked hard to demonstrate the evidence that supports learning in online programs.  A May 2009 study published by the U.S. Department of Education entitled Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning:  A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies stated that students learn better in online programs than in face-to-face programs .  The researchers examined over 1,000 published research papers involving online and face-to-face learners.

The FACTS about AMU’s existence and accreditation are irrefutable.  AMU is one of two universities that form the American Public University System (APUS).  APUS is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA), one of eight regional accrediting bodies in the United States and the largest regional accrediting body in terms of the number of colleges that it accredits.  You can find our name, accreditation status, and other pertinent information listed on its website at:,com_directory/Action,ShowBasic/Itemid,184/instid,2853/lang,en/.     Among the 1,000 plus colleges and universities accredited by NCA are the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, and Northwestern University.  The accreditation process is lengthy and complex and includes many visits by very well educated academics.  A diploma mill would not survive such a review process.  The American Public University System has also been accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council since 1995.  The link for AMU is at this address:  APUS is licensed in West Virginia and Virginia which are the two states where we have offices with our administrative and academics leadership and staff.  We have over 60,000 students and over 10,000 alumni.  Two-thirds of our students are active duty military personnel.  The Department of Defense requires all colleges and universities that participate in its tuition assistance program to be accredited and licensed by a recognized accrediting body.

Additionally, APUS has over 1200 faculty members whose names and credentials are listed on our website.  These professionals would not stake their reputation by working for a diploma mill or unaccredited institution.  Our faculty and staff present at many conferences each year and proudly list their affiliation.  Most, if not all, of these conferences would not accept presenters from unaccredited institutions. 

Lastly, whenever anyone has a concern about a statement that is made about our accreditation, please do not hesitate to contact our Office of Institutional Advancement at  They will be glad to help you set the record straight.

Subjects of Interest


Higher Education

Independent Schools


Student Persistence