Founded as American Military University (AMU) in 1991 by retired Marine Corps officer James P. Etter, the establishment of AMU broke new ground by offering career-relevant education for a mobile population of military learners with unique needs. Over the next ten years, AMU greatly expanded its program offering to encompass a broader array of online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level in response to demand from students seeking education to help prepare them for leadership roles within the military and to transition to post-military careers.

In 2002, AMU was reorganized into American Public University System (APUS), and American Public University (APU) was founded to provide access to the same quality, affordable, and relevant education to a broader audience of motivated working adults with an emphasis on public service disciplines. Today APUS, through American Military University and American Public University, provides education to more than 100,000 students worldwide and offers more than 180 online degree and certificate programs. APUS is the nation's largest provider of higher education to the U.S. Armed Forces* and has been nationally recognized for excellence in online education by the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C).

* July 2012 Military Times report based on tuition assistance enrollment data from the Air Force, Army, Army National Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.


Virginia icon1991

AMU founded and incorporated in Virginia

Enroll Students icon1992

Licensed and authorized to enroll students

Calendar icon1993

First master's program introduced


AMU received national accreditation with the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), maintained through 2012


Undergraduate bachelor's program introduced

World Wide Web icon1998

Transitioned to online, Web-based course delivery


Undergraduate associate program introduced

AMU, APUS, and APU Logos2002

AMU reorganized into American Public University System; American Public University established

West Virginia icon2003

APUS's headquarters moved from Manassas, Virginia to Charles Town, West Virginia


APUS received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)

NASDAQ icon2007

APUS's parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI), was formed and became a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ Stock Market


Prestigious Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) Gomory Award winner for Quality Online Education and first-time winner of the Sloan-C Effective Practice Award

Sloan-C icon2010

Two-time recipient of the Sloan-C Effective Practice Award, marking the first time representatives from a single institution received the award in consecutive years

Students icon2011

American Public University System surpassed 100,000 active students


Received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs for undergraduate business school and MBA programs


Higher Learning Commission reaffirms accreditation through the 2020-2021 academic year


Received Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accreditation for baccalaureate nursing program

Best Online Programs - US News icon2013

APUS ranked #22 on the U.S. News list of Best Online Programs


16 Presidential Management Fellowship finalists selected making APUS the top ranking online university representative and sixth highest among all universities

Best Online Programs - US News icon2014

APUS ranked in the top 12% nationally in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report list of best online undergraduate programs