Capella University is a for-profit university with a history of controversy, but is Capella University legit? Yes, Capella is 100% a legit university but you need to know if the risk you’re taking is worth the potential reward. People generally consider for-profit schools a scam since they tend to pressure people who do not feel like they can accomplish it in an accredited college or university to attend their programs.
Moreover, for-profit schools typically attract people by offering special incentives for student loans and online. Unfortunately, it tends to load you down with unwanted student debt. This is why you are making a good decision to do this research since you will understand the institution’s background better.
Is Capella University Legit?
Capella University is a legit university. However, you will find a lot of people saying, “It’s a scam,” but this is because Capella is a for-profit school. If you are already working and looking to advance in your career with an online degree, then Capella University is for you. It’s a legit, accredited institution that some employers respect.
Capella school is particularly suited for professionals who need a degree for job advancement rather than for students just out of high school. Before choosing Capella, you need to check with the job to make sure that the degree meets the necessary criteria. While Capella, Strayer University, Purdue Global, and similar for-profit colleges are tailored for working adults, they may not be the best fit for everyone, especially recent high school graduates.
That said, I will help you make the best decision by highlighting the primary pros and cons of Capella University. You will be able to make the decision yourself at the end of this article because nobody is better at this decision-making than you.
Pros of Capella University
Let’s begin with the positives, at least the good sides of the school that attract some people.
It is Transfer Friendly
Capella University accepts a lot of CLEP, Sophia, DSST, and StraighterLine. Thus, theoretically, you can test out of a lot of the classes in the degree on your own. They even advertise Sophia on their website, which almost no other colleges will do.
Secondly, Capella University offers prior learning assessments, so you can get college credit for work experience. You need to watch out for the sneaky costs. Getting your work experience assessed at Capella costs $75 per credit hour. Since their classes are typically 6 credits per class, that’s $450, which is insanely expensive for something that takes them 15 minutes to assess.
Thirdly, Capella allows you to transfer in up to 75% of your degree, which is basically the gold standard for online colleges. Theoretically, you should be able to test out of a lot of your degree.
Now, none of their degrees are actually flexible enough for you to be able to test out of all 75%. Their elective sections are too small, their major areas are too large and too niche that there just aren’t CLEPs and Sophias enough to match. You might get close to hacking 75% of a business degree at Capella, but you’re not going to be able to make it all the way.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Capella is regionally accredited, and regional accreditation is the more prestigious accreditation. This means that there’s more oversight for them than there would be for a nationally accredited degree, which tends to mean that the quality of education is a little bit higher
100% Acceptance Rate
They also have a 100% acceptance rate, so you don’t have to worry about getting in.
Offers Online Flexibility
Some of their degrees are based on a subscription model where there are no actual homework deadlines. So the classes tend to fit around your schedule, and you do homework when you’re able.
Cons of Capella University
Capella University is legit but is overshadowed by several significant negatives.
Capella University is Expensive
Capella will cost you about $13,000 more than the average online bachelor’s degree. That’s $64,000 compared to the average $51,000. They do this in a sneakily.
Capella charges a minimum of $350 per credit hour (bachelor’s degree), which compared to other colleges seems very reasonable. However, Capella’s degrees are not 120 credit hours like most other degrees. They take the same amount of time, and you learn the same amount of information, but they count it in terms of 180 credit hours per degree. That’s 60 credit hours more per degree that you have to pay for. So beware of them comparing their costs to other schools.
Now, if you’re a college hacker interested in non-traditional approaches, Capella does have a subscription-based model where you pay for 12 weeks and then try to knock out as many classes as you can.
But even that is way more expensive than what the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Western Governors University charge.
Poor Student to Faculty Ratio
Thomas Edison and Excelsior both have a 20 to 1 student to faculty ratio, but Capella has a 32 to 1. Add to that the fact that most of their faculty are part-time, and you’re running into some problems. That’s going to equate to the following:
- Less attention from faculty.
- Lower quality grading feedback.
- Fewer professors with actual research experience or credentials.
- Overall less motivated, less excited teaching faculty.
They Are a For-profit School
This is always a major red flag because for-profit schools generally invest less of their income into the quality of the classes and more into their profit.
Some Students Are Not Enthusiastic About Capella University
They get a 3.4 out of 5 on GradReports.com and a 2.5 on ConsumerAffairs.com. However, Capella University manages a 4.2 on Niche.com, which is basically just south of the average for online colleges.
A lot of the complaints on the reviews have to do with students feeling like they were tricked into paying for courses that they had been told they didn’t have to take at first. So high acceptance, some flexibility, and regional accreditation are overshadowed by the poor quality of education, a for-profit business model, and not-so-great student reviews.
Poor Graduation Rate
Capella’s graduation rate is literally 16%, which means that only 16% of their students graduate. A lot of big online schools hover in the 30%, and some of them start to approach the 50%. So for a school to be only graduating 16% of its students is mind-blowing.
Perhaps, as a hard worker, you might be part of the 16%, but you have to ask yourself what extra frustrations, what barriers, and what communication mistakes lead to so few people graduating.
As for the average earnings of their graduates, Capella doesn’t really advertise that which is weird because online schools like to point out how much money people who have their degrees make. It’s almost like Capella has something to hide.
It is commonly said that for-profit graduates are less likely to be employed and typically make less money than their non-profit and public counterparts. We can’t know for sure about Capella because they won’t share their data.
Hit with Lawsuits
Capella University has been involved in legal battles where students have brought lawsuits against the institution. These students claimed that the university misled them about various aspects of their educational experience, such as the cost, the time it would take to complete their degrees, and the nature of the learning format. They felt that the reality did not match what was promised by Capella.
The lawsuits highlighted issues like the university’s doctoral programs, where students alleged that the programs were extended unnecessarily, resulting in higher costs and more debt. The legal complaints pointed out that students were under the impression that their degrees would take a certain amount of time to complete, but they ended up taking much longer, which was not only frustrating but also financially burdensome.
Moreover, the students accused Capella of deceptive marketing practices. They argued that the university’s advertisements and recruiting methods gave a false impression of the educational services provided. The lawsuit was to hold Capella accountable for what the students described as a profit-driven approach at the expense of educational integrity.
In October 2021, Capella University was part of the recipients of the FTC’s Notice of Penalty Offenses in the Higher Education Marketplace. However, according to the FTC, “The fact that a school is on this list is NOT an indication that it has done anything wrong.” The FTC is only trying to prevent schools like Capella and DeVry from using illegal or deceptive tactics that land students in high debt and poor career outcomes. You can simply say that they have been warned not to advertise or promise what they cannot offer.
In the end, Capella University is a legit school—just that it has its own share of controversies that put the school in a bad light. Otherwise, Capella is legit and a good school to complete your study.