Privacy Policy - Privacy, Security, and Customer Service

Updated: November 2014

Online Privacy

Online privacy is important to us. As such, it is the policy of American Public University System, its members, American Public University (“APU”) and American Military University (“AMU”), and American Public Education, Inc. (collectively, “APUS,” “we,” “our” or “us”), to collect and retain personal information only as appropriate in the course of providing information and services to our website visitors and users of certain of our mobile applications. This privacy policy describes our online collection and use of personal information about you at our websites and on our mobile applications that link to this policy (collectively referred to as our “Online Services”) (the privacy policy will be accessible in the settings tab of our mobile applications).   We may also offer mobile applications and websites that have their own privacy policies.  Please refer to the privacy policy associated with the APUS mobile application or website you are using for relevant information. 

Consistent with this policy, we collect information in the following ways:

We may collect the following user provided personal information to include: full name, email address, postal address, social security number, date of birth, sex, phone number, and course assignments. In some cases, students who are enrolling in a course or program or buying books, or other visitors utilizing online commerce functions to purchase goods or services, may be required to provide credit card information for billing purposes. If making a request for Admissions or Transfer Credit, students may also be required to provide information related to prior academic history, employment, or military service. If a student chooses not to provide this personal information, he/she may be unable to receive some of the services we offer.

We also collect personal information when you voluntarily provide it or make it available to us by (1) logging into, or creating an account on one of our Online Services; (2) providing feedback to us through a feedback tool; (3) posting a review or making other comments on any public forums (“interactive features”) available in our Online Services; or (4) logging-in to our Online Services through a social media or similar tool, if available. Each manner in which we collect personal information about you identified above occurs only when you voluntarily provide information to us.

For certain Online Services, we use cookies and similar technologies to enable one-click login to the student/faculty campus. Without the use of cookies, users would have to log in multiple times to access the various features of our Online Services. We require that users have cookies enabled on their browser for this purpose.As explained below, we and our service providers or third-party ad servers may use cookies and similar technologies to, over time, collect information about your usage of our Online Services and across different websites that have a business relationship with the service provider or third-party ad server.  Cookies are text files placed on your computer's browser to collect non-personally identifiable information such as computer IP address, pages browsed, date and time of visit, browser type, computer operating system, connection speeds, and links used to enter or leave –  our Online Services.  We do not collect personal information during this process.

We use first-party cookies (such as the Google Analytics cookie) to anonymously identify your browser; and third-party cookies (such as the DoubleClick cookie) together to inform, optimize, and serve you advertisements regarding our programs on third party websites as you are browsing the Internet, based on your previous uses of our Online Services.

Third-party vendors, such as Google, may show you advertisements regarding our programs and services based upon your previous search queries and browsing history. You can opt-out of these ad programs by visiting the Ads Preferences Manager at www.Google.com. You may also configure your web browser to block cookies and/or install browser add-ons to prevent personalization of advertising, such as the Google Analytics Opt-Out Browser Add-on. The information practices of these advertising companies are governed by their own privacy policies and are not covered by this Privacy Policy. Some of these third party advertising companies may be members of the Network Advertising Initiative ("NAI"), a cooperative of online marketing companies that offers a centralized tool for opting out of behavioral advertising delivered by each of its member companies. If you would like to obtain more information about the NAI and make choices about their members’ use of your information, please click here. Also, through the Digital Advertising Alliance ("DAA"), several media and marketing associations have developed an industry self-regulatory program to give consumers a better understanding of and greater control over ads that are customized based on their online behavior across different websites. To make choices about interest-based ads from participating third parties, please visit the DAA consumer opt out page.

Most browsers are initially set to accept cookies. You can set your browser to notify you when you receive a cookie, giving you the chance to decide whether or not to accept it.

We do not currently respond to web browser “do not track” signals or other mechanisms that provide a method to opt out of the collection of information across the networks of websites and online services in which we participate.  If we do so in the future, we will describe how we do so in this privacy policy.  For more information about do not track, visit www.allaboutdnt.org.

Our Online Services may collect certain information automatically from your mobile device when you use one of our mobile applications, including the type of mobile device you use, your mobile device’s unique device identifier, your IP address, and information about the way you use our Online Services. 

Our Online Services may collect precise information about the location of your mobile device, but only with your express consent.  Once you have consented to the collection of the precise location of your mobile device, you may adjust this consent by managing your location preferences through the settings of your mobile device.

You can stop all collection of information by our Online Services by uninstalling our mobile application through the standard uninstall process offered through your mobile device.

We may provide links to third party websites. You acknowledge that such links are provided for your convenience only and do not constitute an endorsement by us of such third party websites. Since we do not control these third party websites, we assume no responsibility for the privacy practices of such websites. We encourage you to review the privacy policies posted on those, and all, third party websites.

How Information is Used and Shared

Information you voluntarily submit to us is used to assist in providing information or services requested by the user.  The information is also used to improve the services we provide to you and the usefulness of our Online Services.  We may use your information to provide you with information about our Online Services or required notices or to send you push notifications on your mobile device.  We may also use your information to inform you of products or services from us or others that may be of interest to you or to send you newsletters or other content that may be of interest.

Information may be shared with governmental and nongovernmental agencies that regulate our activities, including but not limited to the U.S. Department of Education, The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, agencies of the state of West Virginia, other state agencies, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, other federal agencies, and/or the various military service branches.

We may also provide personal information or information automatically collected as required to comply with a court-ordered subpoena or law enforcement investigation. We may also use or share personal information to prevent fraud, including the unauthorized use of our Online Services or violations of applicable policies and the Terms of Use.

As described in the “Cookies and Automatically Collected Information” section above, information collected automatically is used for internal statistical purposes, to make improvements to our Online Services, and for other business-related reasons, such as marketing activities. 

We do not sell or rent any personal information submitted by users of our Online Services to any third party. 

We may share information with affiliates and service providers in furtherance of providing the information or services you have requested and for our Online Services operations and other business- related reasons.

In addition, we may, in the future, decide to sell, merge or otherwise reorganize its business or assets. We reserve the right to transfer and disclose personal information in these circumstances to an entity acquiring the company or relevant assets.

Finally, we may also share de-identified aggregate information with third parties and advertisers so they can measure the effectiveness of any advertisements viewed in connection with our Online Services. For example, we may tell advertisers the number of users who clicked on a particular advertisement.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Annual Notification to Students

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, requires certain educational institutions, including APUS, to establish and publish a written institutional policy regarding student privacy rights under FERPA. The law provides that except in limited circumstances the institution must not disclose, without appropriate consent, the education records of its students. For more information, please visit www.apu.apus.edu/student-record/ferpa.htm.

Security

As part of our commitment to maintaining reasonable security, the organization has adopted the Core Set of Principles developed by the Corporate Governance Task Force on Information Security Governance. Details on Information Security Governance can be found at http://www.cyberpartnership.org/

Our Online Services use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol for financial transactions and where personal information is submitted. We are in compliance with Visa's Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP).

Non-U.S. Website Users

By creating an account or logging-in to our Online Services from outside the United States, you will have agreed to the terms of this Privacy Policy and the Terms of Use. Your personal information and other information will be sent directly to the United States for processing where data protection and privacy regulations may be different than other parts of the world, such as the European Union, and which may not offer an equivalent level of protection to that in the European Union or certain other countries. 

Customer Service and how to Acquire Additional Information

We are committed to providing every user -- including students, applicants, and other persons who contact us -- with prompt, high-quality support at all times. Email is the primary form of contact for users, including APUS students, and we encourage you to email us with questions, comments and concerns. You may also contact us by telephone. AMU and APU each have a contact page listing essential email addresses, telephone numbers and fax numbers.