Capella University

Capella University

infobox University
name= Capella University

motto= "Knowledge is solving problems no one else can"
president= Chris Cassirer, ScD, MPH, Interim President
established= 1993
type= Private / For-Profit University
calendar = Quarter
staff= 1,065 faculty (15% full-time & 85% adjunct) [ Capella University Media Fact Sheet] ]
students= 22,316 [ Capella University Media Fact Sheet] ]
undergrad= 3,571 [ Capella University Media Fact Sheet] ]
postgrad= 18,522 [ Capella University Media Fact Sheet] ]
city= Minneapolis
state= Minnesota
country= USAflagicon|USA
website= []

Capella University is a private for-profit online university based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Capella University offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral (PhD and PsyD) degrees in business, technology, education, human services and psychology. The school is owned by the publicly traded Capella Education Company.Today, the university has students from throughout the United States and 56 other countries. Capella has 104 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 15 certificate programs. A faculty of 1,065 professors with 81 percent holding doctoral degrees serve as of school year 2007-2008, with approximately 3,571 undergraduate, 18,522 graduate students and the remaining 1 percent enrolled in certificate programs. Capella faculty live in all 50 states and 7 foreign countries. [ Capella University Media Fact Sheet] ]


What is now Capella University was established in 1991 by Stephen Shank, former CEO of Tonka, who believed adults were an academically underserved population by traditional universities.

In 1993, Dr. Harold Abel, a former president of three universities, became the first president of the Graduate School of America. This school was later renamed Capella University.

In 1997, Capella University received regional accreditation.

In 1999, the parent company and university were renamed to Capella Education Company and Capella University, respectively.

In 2000, the Capella University began to offer bachelor's degree programs for the first time.

In 2006, Capella Education Company became a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: CPLA).

In 2007, Capella was named one of 86 higher education institutions in the United States to have received the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (NCAE) designation by the National Security Agency (NSA). The designation is valid for the academic years 2007 through 2012. [ [ NSA Press Release, June 28, 2007] ] [ Capella University website] ]

In March 2008, Capella Education Co., longtime occupant the 225 South Sixth skyscraper in downtown Minneapolis, signed a new lease that expands its offices and will rename the building Capella Tower in March 2009. The building will house all of the company's 1,150 downtown Minneapolis administrative staff.Sam Black, [ Capella lease to rename 225 South Sixth] , "Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal", March 20, 2008.] [ [ Capella University website] ]

tudent demographics

Capella University's enrollment is composed mainly of graduate students including 43 percent MS/MBA students and 40 percent PhD/PsyD doctoral students. The undergraduate population of Capella makes up 16 percent of the student body. One percent are working on certificate programs. The average age of a Capella student is 40. Ninety percent of students are enrolled part-time, 66 percent of students are female, and 39 percent of students are ethnic minorities.

Learning environment

As an online university, the majority of learning takes place via the Internet. Capella University's online environment is organized into courserooms, with each course utilizing its own individual component. These courserooms are built on the Blackboard Learning System software. There are also residency requirements for certain graduate programs such as a one year residency for clinical psychology and three yearly 5 day residencies for other masters and doctoral programs.


Capella University has regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [ [ Council For Higher Education website] ] [ [ The Higher Learning Commission website] ] Capella University participates in the North Central Associations (NCA) Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). While the normal accreditation review process is every ten years, member schools who participate in the AQIP program have their accreditation reviewed yearly. AQIP is a form of lean management or process improvement for education. [ [ Academic Quality Improvement Program website] ]

Capella's Masters of Science degree programs in Mental Health Counseling and Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling/Therapy are accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs CACREP. [ [ Capella University website] ]


In 2006 a compliance audit was commenced by the United States Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) focusing on the university's policies and procedures concerning the return of Title IV funds as required by Federal Law for students who failed to give official notice that they were withdrawing from the school. The audit was completed March 12, 2008. For the three year audit period (2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005) the total amount of Title IV funds that was not returned for students that withdrew without providing official notification was approximately $588,000. The OIG audit found that:

"for the 2002-2003 through 2004-2005 award years, the University did not comply with the provisions of the law and regulations governing the return of Title IV, HEA program funds and FFEL and Pell disbursements."cite web | url = | title = Capella University’s Compliance with Selected Provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and Corresponding Regulations: Final Audit Report|format=PDF]

The OIG also found that Capella made accounting mistakes in how it calculated student eligibility for government-subsidized loans, including failing to return all funds disbursed on behalf of students who dropped out before their first day of classcite web | url = | title = Capella University Overcharged Student Lenders $588,000, Audit Finds | accessdate = 2008-03-14 ]

Capella University, in a response to the audit, says it recognizes some past shortcomings in its accounting method but claims it only overcharged lenders by a total of $278,883. The OIC disagreed with some of the university’s assertions and suggested in its report to the department that Capella make further changes, "including conducting eligibility checks on its students before it requests federal funds, not afterward." Capella contends that it has made adequate changes to insure that such errors are not repeated.


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