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The American Public University System (APUS) is a for-profit, online learning institution of higher education that is composed of the American Military University and the American Public University. APUS is wholly owned by American Public Education, Inc., a publicly traded private-sector corporation. APUS maintains corporate and academic offices in Charles Town, West Virginia and administrative offices in Manassas, Virginia. APUS offers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees.
The university was founded in 1991 by Major James P. Etter (USMC, retired) as the American Military University.Operations began in January 1993 with the enrollment of 18 graduate students. Initially, the main goal of the university was to meet the unique educational needs of military personnel needing courses in specialized areas, such as counterterrorism and military intelligence, that were not included in typical university course offerings. In the early years, instruction was done through conventional correspondence.
In June 1995 AMU became nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). In January of the following year, the school introduced its first undergraduate programs. In 1998 AMU made the transition from correspondence-based learning to online learning.
In 2002 AMU expanded to become the American Public University System and established American Public University, intended primarily for civilians and public service programs.
In 2006 APUS was granted regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2012 the American Public University System resigned its DETC accreditation
Students at APUS are involved in a variety of different student organizations and honor societies. This includes chapters for the National Association for Environmental Professionals (NAEP), International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), Student Veterans of America (SVA), the Society of Human Resources Management, and The Saber and Scroll for History students.
Academic Honor Societies include: Alpha Phi Sigma, Sigma Beta Delta, Delta Epsilon Tau, Epsilon Pi Phi, Golden Key, Pi Gamma Mu, Delta Mu Delta, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Sigma Iota Rho.