Online Education: Capella University


Have you noticed a trend with most online, for-profit universities? Typically, those schools were founded many years ago as independent, private universities, but were eventually snapped up by corporations who wanted to capitalize on their name. There isn’t anything wrong with that practice, but then the number of distant learning schools who got started from scratch is probably quite small.

Building A New Model

Capella University is one school that has bucked the trend, having gotten started in 1993 by Stephan Shank, the former Tonka CEO. Shank felt that adult students were not being adequately served by traditional universities so he set out to mix things up by creating a school whereby students could take classes anywhere they chose.

Initially called The Graduate School of America (TGSA), offering MS and PhD degrees in organization and management, education, human services, and interdisciplinary studies, the Minnesota based school received state recognition and, in 1997, national accreditation for its program. By 1999, the school took on its present name expanding its program in the process. Today, the university offers 34 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in 122 specialized areas of study, with nearly 30,000 students enrolled.

Awards & Recognition

Capella University has managed to set itself apart from most online schools of learning, by pulling down important awards and receiving recognition beyond academia. In 2001, US News listed Capella among its Best Online Graduate Business Programs. In 2007, the state of Minnesota accredited Capella’s Master of Science specialization in Reading and Literacy program for licensure, one of just a few online schools so recognized.

Capella has also been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Online Advantage

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education made a profound statement when it comes to distant education, “Online learning has definite advantages over face-to-face instruction when it comes to teaching and learning.” Those advantages typically include allowing students to learn at their own pace which for some students enhances their learning experience.

Capella University offers classes strictly online which means that students do not attend classes locally nor can they travel to Minneapolis to sit in on classes. But, that underscores what the college is all about: offering certificates, bachelors, master’s and PhDs to time pressed students who want to reach their goals on their own schedule.

Adv. — Online learning opens a world of educational opportunities for students. Almost every course of study imaginable is offered via the internet, offering degree, diploma and certificate programs for tens of millions of students. To learn more, please visit to find a program to your liking. Do you need financial aid? If so, check out our free financial aid charts to learn how to apply.


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Categories: Online Education