Strayer University is a private, for-profit university in the United States. It was founded in 1892 as Strayer's Business College and later became Strayer College, before being granted university status in 1998. Strayer University operates under the holding company Strategic Education, Inc. (NASDAQ: STRA), which was established in 1996 and rebranded with the merger with Capella University.
|Strayer's Business College|
|Motto||Transformation through Education|
|Type||Private, 4-year, for-profit university|
|President||Brian W. Jones|
|Campus||Online, and 78 U.S. campuses|
The university enrolls more than 50,000 students through its online learning programs, and at 76 campuses located in 15 U.S. States and Washington D.C. The university specializes in degree programs for working adults and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, education, health services administration, information technology and public administration.
Dr. Siebert Irving Strayer founded Strayer's Business College in Baltimore, Maryland in 1892. Strayer established the college to teach business skills to former farm workers, including shorthand, typing and accounting. Thomas W. Donoho joined the school in 1902. In its first decade of operations, enrollment at the school gradually increased, attracting students from other states, and in 1904 Strayer opened a branch of the school in Washington, D.C.
Enrollment further expanded as demand for trained accountants grew after the passage of the Revenue Act of 1913 and World War I increased the need for government clerks with office skills. During the 1930s, the college was authorized to grant collegiate degrees in accountancy by Washington, D.C.'s board of education. The school founded Strayer Junior College in 1959, when it was given the right to confer two-year degrees. In 1969, the college received the accreditation needed to grant four-year Bachelor of Arts degrees and was renamed Strayer College.
1980s and 1990s
From the 1980s to the late 1990s, Strayer College grew rapidly; enrollment increased from approximately 1,800 in 1981 and 2,000 in 1983, to around 9,000 by 1997. The college expanded the range of degree programs and courses it offered to include subjects such as data processing management and health care management. In 1987, the college was given authorization to grant Master of Science degrees. During the 1990s, the college began to focus on offering information technology courses. According to The Washington Times, high demand for computer training due to the increased use of computers in offices and movement toward "knowledge-based" employment led to higher enrollment at Strayer. In addition, Strayer began providing training programs in computer information systems for companies including AT&T Corporation and government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. In 1996, the college launched Strayer Online to offer classes via the Internet.
2000s to present
In 1998, Strayer College was granted university status by the District of Columbia Education Licensure Commission and became Strayer University. During the early and mid-2000s, Strayer established its first campus locations outside of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Florida. According to the university's website, Strayer University now operates additional campuses in Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas.
Sondra Stallard was named the thirteenth president of Strayer University in May 2007. Stallard had been dean since 1996. Stallard previously served as dean of the school of continuing and professional studies at the University of Virginia.
Strayer enrollment grew in the decade 2001–2010, from 14,009 in the fall of 2001 to 60,711 in the fall of 2010. Enrollment dropped to 42,975 by 2015. In 2010 the U.S. Department of Education, reported that the repayment rate of federal student loans at Strayer University was 25 percent. Strayer claimed its loan repayment rate to be 55 percent.
In 2011 the Washington Post claimed that Strayer had a 15 percent graduation rate, listing it among the lowest college graduation rates in the Washington, D.C., area. Strayer claimed the graduation rate for its full cohort of bachelor's students was 33 percent. In December 2011, the university acquired the Jack Welch Management Institute from Chancellor University for about $7 million. The institute offers a fully online Executive MBA program, as well as certificate programs. In 2012, Michael Plater was named fourteenth president of Strayer University. Previously, he served as provost and chief academic officer.
On August 9, 2012, the syndicated comic strip Doonesbury described Strayer's unusually high executive compensation as part of a series of satirical strips on for-profit education. In addition to reporting Silberman's 2009 compensation (which it described as fifty times more than Harvard's president), the strip said that in the same year that Strayer spent $1,300 per student on instruction, it spent $2,500 per student on marketing and returned $4,500 per student in profit.
In 2013 USA Today listed Strayer University of Washington D.C. as a "red flag" institution for posting a student loan default rate that surpassed its graduation rate. In October 2013, the university initiated a major change in its physical operations by announcing the closure of its 20 Midwest campus locations. Strayer reported total enrollments dropped 17 percent, while new enrollments dropped 23 percent. It was announced that all students currently enrolled in programs in the Midwest at the time would be able to continue their education through Strayer's online only program offerings.
In 2015, Brian Jones, who had previously been Strayer University's General Counsel, was named the university's fifteenth president. Prior to joining Strayer University, Jones was a lawyer and higher education entrepreneur. He served as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education from 2001 until 2005.
In January 2016, Strayer Education announced that acquired the New York Code + Design Academy (NYCDA), making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Strayer Education offering web and mobile development courses. Strayer resumed expansion again in 2018 after opening a campus in Montgomery, Alabama.
Comedian and game show host Steve Harvey was a spokesperson for Strayer and has appeared in several advertisements and spoke at Strayer's commencement ceremony in May 2015. Strayer partnered with Daily Mail in February 2015 to produce a new section of the Daily Mail site named Strayer Business News. As part of the deal, Daily Mail would co-produce education and business content for its new business section.
Strayer announced the launch of Strayer@Work, a new performance improvement solution for businesses in May 2015. As part of the launch, Strayer also announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to offer free college education to all participating FCA dealership employees. FCA dealers pay a monthly fee to send employees to Strayer. Strayer has educational partnerships with approximately 300 Fortune 1000 companies.
In 2018, Queen Latifah became a spokesperson for Strayer.
More than half of the students enrolled at Strayer University take all of their courses online, and the entire bachelor's and master's degree programs can be completed via the Internet. As of June 2019, Strayer had a total enrollment of 52,253 students.
The admissions requirement for undergraduate degree programs at Strayer University is a high school diploma or its equivalent. For graduate degrees (not including the Executive MBA) students must have proof of completion of a Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50, and official transcripts from all other colleges or universities attended. Admissions requirements for the Jack Welch Executive MBA program include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, a Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution in the United States, and 5 years professional experience. An associate degree earned from a partner school can be transferred in its entirety toward a bachelor's degree.
Academic programs and accreditation
The university's principal aim is to provide higher education to working adult students. Strayer University's academic programs include undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The courses offered by the university are business-focused, including courses in business administration and information technology. Degrees can be earned in subjects such as accounting, business administration, criminal justice, education, health services administration, human resource management, information technology and public administration.
Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, one of the six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Department of Education.
The Jack Welch Management Institute, acquired by Strayer University in 2011, was established by Jack Welch after his retirement from General Electric. The institute offers executive MBA degrees and executive certificates covering business-related topics. In September 2016, it was announced that the Jack Welch Management Institute was ranked on Princeton Review's list of Top 25 Online MBA Programs of 2017.
Faculty and students
Strayer University's total enrollment is greater than 52,000 students.
Since the early 2000s, Strayer University has had a high proportion of minority students or people of color. The college has had more women students than men since the late 1990s. According to the university, two thirds of Strayer's students are women and over half are African American or Hispanic. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that Strayer's student body is 56 percent black, 21 percent white, and 13 percent Hispanic.
Many students receive financial assistance from federal government financial aid programs or education assistance programs operated by the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; U.S. federal government sources accounted for 84.9 percent of Strayer's 2010 revenue. In addition, about one-quarter of students have tuition assistance from their employers.
In 2012, a United States Senate committee reported that, as of 2010, 83 percent of Strayer's 2,471 faculty members were employed part-time, and not required to do research.
According to research from the Brookings Institution, Strayer University students, as a whole, hold the fifth largest amount of US student loan debt, approximately $8 billion. The 5-year default rate of Strayer students is 31 percent, and the average repayment of debt after five years is -7 percent.
Noteworthy alumni of Strayer University include the following:
- Gen. Robert Magnus, retired Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
- Charles Mann, businessman and former NFL football player
- M. Virginia Rosenbaum, American surveyor and newspaper editor
- Carolyn Wright, American lawyer, jurist and the Chief Justice of the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas
- Don Watkins, author, columnist, and fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute
Strayer Education Inc.
Strayer Education Inc. is a publicly traded corporation, established as a holding company for the college and other assets in 1996. The company was created to take what was then Strayer College public and raise capital for expansion.
In August 2018, Strayer Education Inc. merged with Capella Education Company to form Strategic Education, Inc.
Lawsuits and investigations
In July 2013, Strayer University contacted HSI Sterling to report suspicious activity surrounding academic transcripts and coursework. In 2014, a former Strayer University admissions official was convicted of large-scale immigration fraud. From about November 2012 to October 2013, a Strayer University admissions official with two co-conspirators who worked for private company Integrated Academics were involved in a conspiracy to fraudulently create at least 58 official Strayer University transcripts so that foreign students would appear eligible to retain their student visas in the United States. The conspirators were ordered to forfeit nearly $300,000 of proceeds from the fraud to the United States government.
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