Walden or Capella .... specific question

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by HappyHitchhiker, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. HappyHitchhiker

    HappyHitchhiker New Member

    I have experience learning at both B&M and online universities. Personally they are both the same to me and have the same results. I have decided to pursue my Masters in Public Administration (although Public Policy would be more my taste) and have to earn it online due to living in small town Kansas. I have contacted both Walden and Capella (in fact applied to both). They are virtually the same cost ($25,000 for the program), have similar classes, and have similar reputations (depending on who you are talking to) BUT that is where the similaities end. Here are some differences between the two:
    Able to view required course books at Capella, not at Walden
    Walden offers the MPP in addition to the MPA
    Walden offers free one year ASPA membership, Capella does not
    Walden is also accredited by NASPAA, Capella is not
    Walden has honor societies, Capella does not

    I asked both "admissions counselors" (sales reps) why I should choose their school over the other. Both sidestepped the question and sent more promotional material. No stars for that one. I don't know if the extra accreditation matters or not. I don't know if they use "standard" texts or "specially prepared for" texts. I have experience with the latter at every school I have attended and do not think very highly of the quality.

    Does anyone have experience with either school? Is one school better than the other?
  2. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    It appears that Walden is a member of NASPAA, but its programs are not accredited by NASPAA, a material difference.

    Accreditation Information for Students (NASPAA)

    Do you have any reason to choose Walden or Capella over, say, any of these?

    Online Accredited Programs (NASPAA)
    Best Buy Online Master's in Public Administration (GetEducated.com)
  3. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

  4. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Oh, here's an even better list of online MPA degree programs. This list specifically shows all online programs that are NASPAA accredited:

    NASPAA Accreditation
  5. CavTrooper

    CavTrooper New Member

    Yeah I wouldn't really recommend Walden or Capella for an MPA. Check out Penn State's World Campus (worldcampus.psu.edu) - they offer an MPA for around $29700. Also, Northwestern University in Chicago (a top-tier school - I think they're ranked #12 nationally) offers a Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) that can be completed in like 15 months or something crazy. Then there's Norwich, where the MPA can be completed in 18 months and will be much better respected than either Walden or Capella. Or Liberty University, which offers the MAPP (Master of Arts in Public Policy) with multiple focuses including campaigns and elections, and some other cool specialties.

    I think Walden and/or Capella can be great options at the doctoral level because not many schools offer online PhD programs in Public Policy (I think both W and C do?). However, on the MPA/MPP level there are so many options from much better regarded schools.
  6. CavTrooper

    CavTrooper New Member

    Also, I wouldn't get too hung up on NASPAA - I think the school's brand is more important in terms of degree marketability than the program-specific accreditation (not discounting NASPAA, just saying look at the brand first). For example, the MPPA from Northwestern (non-NASPAA from what I understand) would be worth far more to most employers than a NASPAA MPA from Walden or APUS or one of the other big for-profit players.
  7. FJD

    FJD Member

    I would have loved to have done the Northwestern program, but it costs north of $40K, which was just too much for me. I ended up going with Illinois-Springfield (about $15K). I would recommend the OP looking into Arkansas State's MPA (NASPAA, 8 wk classes, and $254/credit = about $9K for the while thing). I would have gone there if it were available at the time I took my MPA. I see Old Dominion also offers an online MPA now, as does both Texas-Arlington and Texas-Pan American. I believe all have price tags in the $15-20K range. In other words, there are a lot of solid state schools offering this degree for less than Capella or Walden and it's probably worth checking them out.

    The MPA Online – Department of Public Administration - University of Illinois Springfield - UIS
    A-State Online Degree Programs | Arkansas State University Online
    Right Where You Are - Old Dominion University
    Distance Learning Programs | University of Texas Arlington Online
    University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) | Online Degree
  8. CavTrooper

    CavTrooper New Member

    Great feedback, FJD - there are so many options for an MPA other than the two mentioned by the OP. The schools you listed are all solid. A few years ago I was in the market for an MPA but ended up with GW's MPS in Legislative Affairs since I could take it here locally in DC and complete it within a year.

    I didn't realize Northwestern's program was so expensive - good grief. For any distance program, other than maybe a few select MBA programs with direct placement via on campus recruiting, I don't think a $40k+ price tag is really justified.
  9. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

  10. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Don't pay 25k for an MPA. It's simply too much when there are less expensive alternatives.
  11. HappyHitchhiker

    HappyHitchhiker New Member

    I picked these 2 schools to focus on because the people I know do not care where you get your degree from. It is the skills you can bring that matter most. I have 10 years of nonprofit experience and have brought in over $1,000,000 in grants (not a whole lot, I know, but every thing helps).

    I would be more interested in an MPP program which boosts Walden's program a little bit over Capella. However, I did find some very "funny" things when looking at the faculty lists for both universities. There a few faculty members that "teach" at both schools (not sure if this is a bonus or not), a few biographies are very old and inaccurate at Walden (the professor doesn't even list the school by name on Linkedin--he groups all his online teaching together), Capella encourages prospective students to contact the instructors if they want to know more about the school.

    In the best of worlds I would have taken my GRE, gone to a B&M school, and would have done this all 20 years ago. The reality is I live in a small town that my son loves and I cannot pick up and move again in 2 months. I also have a job here and cannot afford to leave it. I already have an MBA and this will help transition into nonprofit development as a paid career rather than the volunteer career it is now.
  12. HappyHitchhiker

    HappyHitchhiker New Member

    The program at my Alma Mater is more than that plus the cost of books, computer fees, lab fees, and such.
  13. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Don't pay 25k for an MPA. Here are a few RA MPA programs at a fraction of the cost:

    APU Degree Program: Master of Public Administration-Capstone Option

    MPA Program Description - Valdosta State University

    TROY - Master of Public Administration

    There are many others. However, if your employer is paying 100% of your tuition, then disregard everything written and set your criteria (whatever that might be).
  14. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    Hey, one of the more often discussed distance-learning graduate schools around here is in small-town Kansas too. Consider related concentrations in FHSU's Master of Liberal Studies or Master of Professional Studies.

    There's nothing keeping you from taking a GRE now. Separately – some won't require a GRE – there's nothing keeping you from taking an online program from a B&M school.


    You might also look at the thread on distance learning Graduate Programs in Nonprofit Management (note that it runs to multiple pages; the link is just the first and you can navigate from there).
  15. CavTrooper

    CavTrooper New Member

    Each person's educational goals will be different, and I realize your situation is unique to, well, your situation. However, it seems that disregarding college credibility based on your current situation is short-sighted - there are numerous options that are better and cheaper than Walden or Capella, and your situation - along with credibility criteria - may change. Just my $.02.

    That being said, if you already have an MBA, I wouldn't even get the MPA, like a previous commenter stated. Instead, consider pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy (I obtained one from Liberty University and it only took a few months to complete the classes).
  16. jayncali73

    jayncali73 New Member

    I would go with Arkansas State University. You get a NASPAA accredited MPA online in 15 months or so for under $9,500.00. I have had two employees complete this program and both have been happy with the program.

    Distance Learning Programs | Arkansas State University Online
  17. novadar

    novadar Member

    I totally agree with CavTrooper, pursuing another Management-related Masters degree is not a particularly good use of time or money. I could only see pursuing a second Masters if it was in another field. Some type of graduate certificate might make sense but honestly I don't see why you cannot spin the MBA to work for your advantage. I work in IT and at the beginning of my move from working at as Civil Servant (with an MPA) to IT, I played up the Management aspects of the degree. I don't see why you cannot do the same. Now the degree being in Public Admin is completely irrelevant. Frankly speaking I don't see what you will get out of an MPA that you should not have already gotten out of your MBA.
  18. major56

    major56 Active Member

    I’m too in agreement with the previous comments (re CavTrooper / novadar) if you already have a MBA; nevertheless, here’s an interesting online MPA with a recognized brand at a reasonable cost you might consider:

    CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Master of Public Administration: Inspector General program (42-credits / $21K).
    Overview | John Jay College Online
    Curriculum | John Jay College Online

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