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Online Business School: Kaplan University vs. Walden University

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Both Kaplan University and Walden University get a high rank (top 5) among all the online business schools across the country.

They also have great common in accreditation. You can study online at your own pace and earn an expected degree after completing the online programs at these reputable universities. I will give you a comprehensive review on the two universities and help you choose between them.


Most online universities and colleges pay much attention to accreditation. If an online university is accredited nationally or regionally, it is considered as a reputable online school where quality education can be obtained online. An accredited online degree can ensure that employers will recognize your degree and offer you a job. Therefore, accreditation should be put in the first place when you choose an online school.

Kaplan University and Walden University are both accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and are members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). NCA is a regional accrediting association which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. There are another five regional accrediting associations:

• Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

• New England Association of Schools and Colleges

• Northwest Commission of Schools and Colleges

• Western Association of Schools and Colleges

• Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

In addition, Walden University is also accredited by ACBSP (the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) in term of these programs: B.S. in Business Administration, Executive Master of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration, Doctor of Business Administration and Ph.D. in Management. This accreditation enables you to earn a more competitive degree.

However, business programs at Kaplan University have not been accredited by ACBSP yet. Kaplan University has been one of the candidates for accreditation since Dec. 2011.

Online degrees

Through online programs provided by Kaplan University, you can obtain:

• Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Business Administration

• Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Business Administration

• Master’s Degree of Business Administration.

While at Walden University, you can earn:

• Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration

• Master’s Degree of Business Administration

• Doctor’s Degree of Business Administration.


• Kaplan University

Kaplan University requires you to complete an Enrollment Agreement, on which one of your parents should write his/her name if you are under 18. You should also provide other documentations that the university asks for.

You should complete the following things before you enroll in the program:

1. An informational interview

2. Online learning environment tour

3. Financial arrangements or financial aid applications

Kaplan University admits the first-time students conditionally, but they can enjoy all the rights and resources that a fully-admitted student can enjoy, except for title IV federal financial aid. For students who want to get an online graduate degree, if you are required to take foundational courses, and you expect to be regarded as a conditionally-admitted student in the next term, you should get an “S” grade – satisfactory grade. Once you fail and get a “U” grade – unsatisfactory grade, you will be given a second chance for the next 12 months. If you fail again, the university will ask you to apply for admission again 12 months afterwards.

When you are unfortunately turned down by Kaplan University, keep in mind that all the textbooks should be returned. Otherwise, you have to pony up the costs of the textbooks.

For high school students who wish to earn an online undergraduate degree, you should provide the proof of graduation attestation that is presented in one of these documentations:

1. Enrollment Agreement

2. Free Application for Federal Student Aid

3. other document that the university accepts

Failure to present this proof will lead to dismissal from Kaplan University right away and invalid of all your credits. Keep in mind that there is a verifying check on your documentations by means of random sampling method. Once you have been chosen, you should attest to your graduation in a 30-day period on your own or leave it to the university by forking over $10.

• Walden University

To get admitted by Walden University, academic record and relevant work experience are needed in the first place.

Suppose you want to earn a BBA, you should be at least 24, and students ranging from 21 to 23 should have completed at least 12 transferrable college credit hours. You will be considered in other scenarios: 1) 90 credit hours have been completed; 2) you are one of the active military members; 3) you are a veteran who possesses service documentation. If you are able to transfer 135 credits, you are allowed to earn your degree faster, yet among the 135 credits, at least 45 of which should be completed at Walden University.

If you expect to get an MBA or a Doctor’s Degree, you should at least offer a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree. Besides, a goal statement is required in these cases.

Credit hours and costs

• Associate’s Degree of Business Administration

This degree can be earned only at Kaplan University. There are overall 90 credit hours in this online program and each credit hour costs $371. Thus you have to pay $33,390 in total for the tuition fee. The technology fee is $100 every term and there are 8 terms, so the total technology fee will be $800. The application fee, which is not refundable, costs you $45. It may be waived if:

1. you are the spouse or dependent of an active-duty military member;

2. you are an employee of preselected corporations and postsecondary institutions which have an educational relationship with Kaplan University

3. you have completed the prior coursework at Kaplan Higher Education Campuses School;

4. you are part of the preapproved student groups.

Therefore, the total cost will be $34,235 for each student ($34,190 for those whose application fee can be waived).

• Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration

You can earn this degree in both universities by studying online. Let’s check out the tuition cost and the fees for them.

1. Kaplan University

Credit hours – 180

Cost per credit hour – $371

Technology fee per term – $100

Terms – 15

Application fee – $45

So the overall cost may reach $68,325 per student.

2. Walden University

Tuition and fees – $52,000 (including application fee of $50, technology fee of $95 per quarter and tuition cost of $280 per credit hour)

Books and supplies – $4,800

Then the total cost should be $56,800 per student.

• Master’s Degree of Business Administration

1. Kaplan University

Cost per credit hour – $441

MBA specialization track – 76 credit hours

MBA non-specialization track – 60 credit hours

Technology fee – $50 per term

The number of terms (specialization track) – 19

The number of terms (non-specialization track) – 15

Application fee – $45

Apart from all these above, Kaplan University also requires the one-time fee of $84.5 for the course named Business Perspectives and $40 for the course named MBA Capstone. Since these two courses are included in both specialization track and non-specialization track, you should pay $124.5 in total additionally no matter which MBA program you choose. Thus, the overall cost and fee might be $34,635.5 for specialization track and $27,334.5 for non-specialization track.

2. Walden University

MBA at Walden University has only specialization track, which costs $29,955 in total including tuition fee of $805 per credit hour, technology fee of $130 per semester and application fee of $50.

• Doctor’s Degree of Business Administration

Only Walden University can offer you a Doctor’s Degree of Business Administration and the total cost will be $61,850, in which tuition fee is $810 per credit hour (total 60 credit hours), technology fee is $130 per semester, application fee is $50 and residency fee is $1,050 for each day (2 days in this program).

My point

Too many options are available to you when you decide to earn a degree of business administration. If your choices are narrowed down to Kaplan University and Walden University, I’d like to come up with some tips on how to select between them.

As I have said earlier, you can only get an Associate’ Degree of Business Administration and a Doctor’s Degree of Business Administration from Kaplan University and Walden University, respectively. Yet both of them provide online programs for a BBA and an MBA. Consequently, the selection between these two universities makes sense only when you need a BBA and an MBA.

First things first, both universities are accredited by HLC and they are members of NCA. The only difference lies in that only Walden University is accredited by ACBSP. So I can say that both universities are considered as reputable online schools, but Walden University is slightly better than Kaplan University because of ACBSP.

When it comes to the costs, Walden University is less expensive than Kaplan University, which is presented above. Hence, from a comprehensive perspective, it is a wiser move to opt for Walden University other than Kaplan University once you are pursuing a BBA or an MBA.

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