University History, Mission and Goals
Aspen University has its origins in the International Academy, created in the 1960s to improve the way education was disseminated. The International Academy evolved into ISIM University, with a primary focus on technology and business education. In the late 1980s, operations moved to Colorado and in 1993, the University was successful in acquiring national accreditation with the Distance Education and Training Council, now the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). In 2003, the University underwent a change in ownership, a name change to Aspen University, and a successful re-accreditation review.
In 2011, the University underwent a second change of ownership. Concerned about the financial challenges faced by students and profiled in his book Let’s Change Higher Education Forever: A Debt-Free Solution for A System Gone Wrong, Michael Mathews, Chairman of the Board of Aspen Group, Inc. (AGI), was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Aspen University. In 2012, it became a publicly traded post-secondary institution (ASPU) and in 2017, AGI was uplisted on the NASDAQ. Aspen University is dedicated to helping students achieve upward mobility and long-term economic success through superior education, financial prudence, and career advancement. Although traditional financial aid is available for some programs, Mr. Mathews instituted a pioneering Monthly Payment Plan (MPP) for students, offered entirely interest free, making it essentially a no-interest private student loan designed to allow the student to achieve their degree and minimize debt upon graduation.
Today, Aspen University offers online certificates, and online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in four schools: School of Nursing, School of Business and Technology, School of Education, and School of Professional Studies. It retains national accreditation with DEAC and has been approved by Colorado to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Aspen University has programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for its baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in nursing. It is also an approved provider of project management training by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and its bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Psychology and Addiction Counseling are approved by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC). The School of Business and Technology has been awarded the status of Candidate for Accreditation by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).
Aspen is dedicated to offering any motivated college-worthy student the opportunity to receive a high quality, responsibly priced distance-learning education for the purpose of achieving sustainable economic and social benefits for themselves and their families. Aspen University achieves this in two ways.
- Aspen’s Academic Achievement Goal is to transition motivated learners to higher levels of productive citizenship by providing a readily accessible education that teaches knowledge and skills of enduring value. A productive citizen is defined as a self-directed life-long learner who functions successfully in high-performance teams; exhibits professional behavior through leadership, advocacy, cultural competence and ethical conduct; conducts research, using evidence-based practices; leverages technology to produce high-value work products; and achieves and maintains a productive professional career.
- Aspen’s Economic Responsibility Goal is to offer tuition rates low enough that a majority of our students will not incur debt through utilization of federal financial aid. Economic responsibility is defined as Aspen offering tuition rates low enough that a majority of students will be able to afford to pay tuition in cash or through a monthly payment plan (maintaining Federal Financial Aid revenues below 50%).
- Ethical Professionalism
- Exhibits self-directed learning and professional behavior that adheres to the standards of the discipline
- Behaves in ways that are founded in socially responsible, ethical frameworks
- Effective Communication for Creating Change
- Uses reading, writing, listening and speaking as communication tools to effectively express and comprehend ideas
- Implements effective communication to function successfully in multiple roles while collaborating on teams
- Demonstrates cultural competence when interacting with diverse populations through multiple modes of communication
- Active Leadership
- Exhibits a self-awareness of leadership style and personal values
- Recognizes and articulates leadership theory in real-life contexts
- Participates in the profession at different levels
- Critical Thinking and Analytical Reasoning
- Demonstrates logical reasoning by using evidence-based paradigms that are anchored in solid research and reliable, valid data
- Analyzes and evaluates multiple sources of information to draw conclusions and generate plans for solving complex problems
- Technological Literacy
- Leverages technology to achieve goals and produce high-value work products
- Accesses and uses information ethically and legally
- Employs technology for effective online collaboration