About Capella University

Capella University is an accredited online and campus-based university that offers 35,000+ students a choice of 142 graduate and undergraduate specializations, along with 25 certificate programs and over 1,600 online courses.

Compared to a lot of other online universities, Capella is focused on providing a competency-based education, so that you’ll have the “critical skills, knowledge, theories, and abilities” necessary to master the subject matter and efficiently advance your career. This includes professionally aligned curriculum and real-world assignments.

On top of this, Capella’s FlexPath program can help you get an education on your terms by putting in the hard work on your own schedule, which can help you graduate faster and save money in the process. All of which is why Capella claims to help you “earn a relevant, recognized, and respected degree” and to be “the most direct path to achieve your goals.”

But is this what Capella University’s students are saying? Are there better online education options for you? Are there any other important considerations to keep in mind? We’ll cover all of this—and more—in this review.

Capella Admission Requirements, Degrees, & Programs

Capella University offers a wide variety of certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, all of which are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, along with several professional accreditations (not an exhaustive list):

  • Business – Accounting (in addition to a CPA pathway), Business Administration, Business Intelligence, Finance, Health Care Management, Human Resources Management, Management & Leadership, Marketing, Project Management
  • Counseling – Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Couple & Family Systems, General School Counseling, Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy, General Advanced Studies in Human Behavior
  • Criminal Justice – Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Emergency Management
  • Education – Adult Education, Education Leadership & Administration, Integrative Studies, Training & Performance Improvement, Early Childhood Education, K-12 Studies in Education, Nursing Education, Reading & Literacy
  • Health Sciences – Health Care Management, Health Information Technology, Health Care Operations, Public Health Leadership, Health Policy & Advocacy, General Public Health
  • Human Services – Social & Community Services, Gerontology, Multidisciplinary Human Services, Non-Profit Management & Leadership
  • Information Technology – General Information Technology, Data Analytics, Project Management, Digital Forensics, Health Care Security, Information Assurance & Security, IT Education
  • Nursing – RN-to-BSN Degree Completion, Care Coordination, Nursing Informatics, Nursing Leadership & Administration, Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Psychology – General Psychology, Sport Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, Educational Psychology, Clinical Counseling, Developmental Psychology, School Psychology
  • Public Administration – Non-Profit Management & Leadership, General Public Administration, Public Policy & Governance
  • Social Work – Social Work, Social Work Advanced Standing

Keep in mind that each of Capella University’s programs will have different admission requirements, which is something your enrollment counselor can walk you through. This might include letters of recommendation, completing an admission essay, undergoing a faculty interview, and more.

In general though, bachelor’s students should have a high school diploma (or equivalent) and be at least 24 years old; master’s and doctoral students must have bachelor's and master’s degrees, respectively, from an accredited institution. You’ll also need to submit an application and pay a $50 fee, and obtain official transcripts from previous institutions.

Capella’s FlexPath Program

Some of Cappella University’s programs are eligible for their FlexPath self-paced learning format, which could help you earn your degree faster.

Through FlexPath, you’ll be able to complete each course at your own pace within a 12-week period, with no set class times or deadlines. In fact, your learning isn’t assessed by time spent in class; it’s “assessed through demonstration of key competencies.”

This way, not only can you complete you degree faster and spend less money doing it, but you’ll also be focusing on “the specific knowledge, skills, theories, and abilities required for workplace success.”

Now, how much will Capella’s programs cost you?

The Cost Of a Capella University Education

How much your Capella University program costs depends on a variety of factors, but in general, you can expect to pay:

  • Certificate Programs: $4,698 tuition per quarter, or $387 - $737 per credit
  • Bachelor’s Programs: $330 - $382 per credit, or $2,200 - $2,500 per 12-week course through the FlexPath program
  • Master’s Programs: $398 - $757 per credit, or $2,400 per 12-week course through the FlexPath program
  • Doctoral Programs: $2,800 - $5,177 tuition per quarter, or $630 - $728 per credit

Pro tip: Need a more personalized approach to figuring out how much you’ll pay? Be sure to check out Capella’s online calculators.

As with most other universities, Capella offers a range of different scholarships, grants, discounts, and other financial aid options to help you finance your education.

In order to get up close and personal with how much your Capella University education will cost, counselors can be reached at 855-439-5857.

Considering these costs, are Capella’s students and alumni singing their praises? Let’s take a look.

Student Feedback For Capella University

Based on 207 student reviews, Capella had an average rating of 6.4 out of 10 on OnlineDegreeReviews.org. While many seemed happy with the quality of the education they received, others complained about inadequate counseling/advising, high tuition costs, disinterested professors, and that’s it’s basically just a diploma mill.

On StudentsReview.com, Capella seemed to have all A and B ratings from students, except for five areas: alternative pay (C+), campus beauty (C), campus maintenance (C+), surrounding city (C+) and social life/environment (C+). Granted, you won’t have to worry about most of these if you’re attending online.

Outside of these grades, most current and former students seemed to complain about Capella’s grading structure, the quality of the education, and that they’re more about money than anything else.

From a company perspective, Capella University, based out of Minneapolis, MN, had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, despite more than 100 closed complaints (as of 2/24/16). Most appeared to reference money owed, whether due to dropped classes, insufficient financial aid, or miscommunication between Capella and the student.

It should also be noted that “approximately 79% of the institution's cash flow comes from US government Title IV payments, including Pell grants.” In 2006, Capella was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General, who “focused 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.” Ultimately, it was all chalked up to accounting errors, and the school has since taken steps to ensure it won’t happen again.

Is Capella University Right For You?

We’re reviewed several of the most popular online universities here at HighYa, including University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, Western Governors University, and many more. And although they can certainly make obtaining your college degree easier and more convenient, you’ll be giving up a lot of the “traditional” college experience.

So, if you’re fresh out of high school and are looking to experience as many unique things about college as possible, an online university probably shouldn’t be your first option—unless they also offer a physical campus as well. Apart from this experience, how does Capella University stack up against the competition?

Capella’s Facts & Figures

Most online universities (Capella included) are considered for-profit institutions, so your tuition will often be meaningfully higher than a traditional university. With this said, Capella seems to fall on the higher end of the spectrum. In other words, you might pay more to attend Capella than you would most other online universities.

Despite their higher tuition costs, with 35,000 students currently enrolled, Capella falls far short of behemoths like University of Phoenix (more than 300,000 enrolled students), although this could mean that you’ll have a lower student to teacher ratio. Also, only about 8,700 of these 35,000 are bachelor’s students, so you might feel more at home at Capella if you’re looking to complete a post-secondary degree.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t any information available online about Capella’s graduation or loan default rates, although College Scorecard claims the average student graduates with more than $33,000 in total debt. Also, according to US News, the University’s retention rate (the number of students who return the following year) is just 20%, which is lower than most other online universities we’ve reviewed.

Taking all of this together, only you can decide if Capella University is the right choice. But if you’re a working adult who’s focused on education (especially something other than a bachelor’s), they might be an ideal fit. Just keep in mind that they will charge higher tuition than most community colleges and state universities. In other words, you’ll pay for the convenience.

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