Is Ashford University (now completely online) Legit or a Scam?


I am not comfortable with this school – but please look and research for yourself.


What is Ashford University?

In 2016 Ashford University closed its physical campus in Clinton, Iowa.  It is entirely Online now.  The actual Corporate location is in San-Diego, California.  It is a for-profit university and the largest educational holding of Bridgeport Education.

It offers associate, bachelor, and master programs in more than 50 degree programs – all online.  It consists of four colleges – the Forbes School of Business, the college of Health, Human Services and Science, and the /College of Liberal Arts.

It is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

An abbreviated history

First a quick history lesson.  Ashford University has its root back to 1893 when it opened as Mount St. Clare Academy, a boarding school and day school for girls. It was a Catholic institution formed by a Father Murphy with the help of the Sisters of St Francis.  A building was erected in 1910 and remained in use until 2016.  This is in Clinton, Iowa.

In 1918, it became Mount St. Clare College and served the local area.  The college changed its name to Franciscan University of the Prairies in 2003 to 2005.  There was a period of financial difficulties and it was purchased by Bridgeport Education in March 2005.  Major change and expansion ensued. The physical campus was closed in 2016.  Enormous change and enrollment increases began with the additional of Bridgeport Education.

You can easily search for more history and there is plenty.  But from its meager beginnings and history, it has now become a huge online presence providing thousands with an education opportunity.  It is a for-profit University.  It has more than 50 degree programs.

What I found…

First, I spent a lot of time reading reviews from the students, legal issues of the enrollment and financial side of the school, plus trying to understand how the courses work and their cost.

There were/are disturbing actions against the school.  They have agreed to pay settlements. They have dealt with claims of deceptive marketing and financing programs – and more.

Bridgeport Education did agree to pay a settlement reached between the State of Iowa and Ashford University. $7.25 million.  It was to settle claims that recruiters lied to convince student to enroll in online classes.  Ashford University denied wrong doing but will pay $7.25 million.   This is a brief description of an article from 2014.  This is just one of the complaints against Ashford.  See link included to read for yourself.

If you go to WikiLeaks and search Ashford University there is even more negative information.  Again, it revolves around the financing and loans of their students.

They have been cited for many deceptive sales tactics as well as deceptive financial advice and contracts.

Once again, they are paying out more money to satisfy the complaints.  There are whistle blower complaints and more.

I have added two more links – one to WikiLeaks – one to Yahoo Finance.  Judge for yourself.


Normally, I would take time to research costs and courses and success rate.  I would want to give an  honest evaluation in my opinion.

I found enough disturbing information and predatory practices.   I do not feel the need to continue an evaluation.

A single credit hour cost is $452 with many additional fees – published by Ashford itself.  A technology fee of $50 became a large source of complaints with accusations of it being nearer $1000.  Please read for yourself – as it is too lengthy to detail all the complaints.

My suggestion is look elsewhere for and Online Education – in my opinion.  I am not comfortable with what I have found and could not recommentd it.  But – as always if you are unsure – research for yourself as I have.


By Dave Kerchner – April 19, 2017