Ashford University Reviews

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Ashford University is an online-only university that has been operating in some form since the late 1800s. Originally, the school was a boarding school for girls, and later became a liberal arts college. After several mergers over the 1900s, and a brief name change to the Franciscan University of the Prairies in 2003, the school became formally known as Ashford University in 2005, after it was purchased by Bridgepoint Education.

The school is headquartered in San Diego, California, and only became an entirely online school after closing their single physical branch in Iowa in March 2016. The University consists of four schools: the Forbes School of Business; the College of Health, Human Services, and Science; the College of Education; and the College of Liberal Arts. Through these four schools, students can earn either a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree in a variety of fields.


Like many online universities, Ashford University has faced controversy throughout its transition from a physical campus to an online campus. One of the key points for any online school is to ensure that the student portal, or online campus, works properly. Many students report within the first part of 2016 that the portal has frequent glitches and many hours of down time, which makes it hard for any student to log in, access their classes, and turn in their work.

Additionally, legal scandals going as far back as 2006 suggest that Ashford University has questionable student loan practices, and may participate in unethical student recruitment activities. These scandals were often directly related to the Iowa campus which recently closed down. Student opinions on the financial aid services are divided right down the middle, and with nearly half the student body reporting regular payment acceptance issues and frequent costly “mistakes” made by the financial aid staff, even the online campus doesn’t inspire much confidence that it has financial aid in good hands.

Ashford University offers over 50 degrees in total, which is a much higher number than many other online universities. Students enrolled in the online campus frequently cite the school’s balance between flexibility and regular scheduling as an extremely helpful feature; most classes are organized so that assignments are turned in on the same day of the week, allowing students to get into a routine that is easy to follow. But like most online universities, flexibility is a key part of the program. Students can take a full load of classes each semester, or a single class a month as their budget and time allows.


5.7 Total Score

Ashford University consists of four schools where students can earn either a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree in a variety of fields.

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  • Flexible class scheduling
  • Structure within the program to help students get into a regular routine
  • More degrees available than other online universities
  • Specific programs for military members

  • Financial aid department has frequent complaints from half the student body
  • Decades of financial aid and recruitment scandals that culminated in campus closure
  • Student portal is frequently cited as down or full of glitches


When it comes to Ashford University, students should tread carefully. While current students do rate their professors and the education they are receiving as very high quality, the questionable financial aid issues, and the ongoing legal matters that plague the school, could make any educational experience far too stressful to be worthwhile. If Ashford offers the degree you want where other online universities do not, be aware that you may have to stay on top of your finances more carefully than you would have to at other schools. Additionally, be sure to read all the fine print very carefully, and don’t believe everything a recruiter tells you until you’ve had a chance to review all the information.

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