Warren National University

Warren National University

Infobox University
name = Warren National University
established = 1984
faculty = 120
students = 30,000 from 1984 to 2005 Lesley Lipska, [http://www.lccc.cc.wy.us/wingspan/Archives/2004/0411/News/CollegesPreston.htm Private institutions offer opportunities for students] , "Wingspan" (Laramie County Community College student newspaper), November 2004.] [ [http://www.gcn.com/print/23_11/25894-1.html Online Extra: Inside diploma mills] by Wilson P. Dizard III, "Government Computer News", May 17, 2004]
city = Cheyenne
state = Wyoming
address = 200 West 17th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 82001-4412
telephone = (307)638-6114
type = Private, distance learning, and unaccredited university
website = http://www.wnuedu.com/

Warren National University is a post-secondary, distance learning, unaccredited private university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States, based in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Until December 14, 2007, its administrative offices were located in Agoura Hills, California. http://www.wnuedu.com/aboutwnu-offices.asp (accessed January 2, 2008)] The institution was established in California in 1984 under the name Kennedy-Western University, and adopted its new name in 2007. The university has reportedly been economically successful" [http://books.google.com/books?id=PwNPSlDHFxcC&pg=PA354&dq=%22kennedy+western%22&sig=mKdEdYDZPcfC73GkhXqUc6TSn5s#PPA354,M1 Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning] ", by Dr. Kjell Erik Rudestam, "SAGE Publications", ISBN-13: 978-0761924517, November 6, 2003] targeting mid-career professionals. It has also been the subject of controversy and criticism due in part to involvement in a U.S. federal government investigation.


Warren National University was established as Kennedy-Western University in California in 1984. Its founder is Paul Saltman. [http://chronicle.com/news/article/1340/new-name-for-unaccredited-university-salutes-wyoming-governor New Name for Unaccredited University Salutes Wyoming Governor] , "The Chronicle of Higher Education", November 30, 2006] The name was officially changed to Warren National University on January 1, 2007. [http://www.kw.edu/warren-national-university.asp Kennedy-Western University is changing its name to Warren National University] , "Former KWU website"] According to the institution, the new name was selected in honor of the first governor of Wyoming, Francis E. Warren, and reflects the university's strong ties to the State of Wyoming. The "Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning" states, "There are some unaccredited, profit-making online universities that have achieved reported economic success. One example is Kennedy-Western University, which has significant history in serving the corporate education markets." [http://books.google.com/books?id=PwNPSlDHFxcC&pg=PA354&dq=%22kennedy+western%22&sig=mKdEdYDZPcfC73GkhXqUc6TSn5s#PPA354,M1 Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning] , "SAGE Publications", ISBN-13: 978-0761924517, November 6, 2003.]

Over the university's history, it has had mailing addresses in California, Hawaii, Idaho, and Wyoming, while keeping headquarters in California until December 2007. As of December 14, 2007, WNU closed its administrative offices in Agoura Hills, California, centralizing its operations in Wyoming.

In 2002 "The Chronicle of Higher Education" reported that KWU was licensed in California up to 1991, "But Kennedy-Western chose not to renew its license after California enacted the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Reform Act, a 1989 law that aimed to rid the state of diploma mills." In the same article the Chronicle quoted the school's director of admissions as saying the new California regulations would not have permitted KWU "to offer college credit for work experience and a more flexible self-paced model."

In 1998, when the state of Idaho rejected their renewal application for license to operate because of a lack of institutional accreditation, Warren National University moved its mailing address from Idaho to Wyoming. [http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i31/31a03501.htm Moonlighting for an Unaccredited University] by Andrea L. Foster, "The Chronicle of Higher Education", April 12, 2002] The "Seattle Times" noted in a 2005 article, that some believed KWU had an address in Wyoming because "the state has become a haven for diploma mills." [ [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2002174735_diploma09.html Alleged "diploma mills" flocking to Wyoming] By Mead Gruver, "Seattle Times", February 09, 2005]

In August 2008, WNU announced that it was suspending new student admissions and reactivation of students in order to focus resources on current students. [ [http://www.montanasnewsstation.com/Global/story.asp?S=8897104 Warren National not taking new students] , Associated Press, August 25, 2008, WorldNow, Montana's News Station and Cordillera Communications website (accessed September 22, 2008)] [ [http://www.wnuedu.com/default.asp WNU website] (accessed September 22, 2008)]


In 2002 "The Chronicle of Higher Education" described Warren National University as a privately held university incorporated in California and Wyoming, with headquarters in Thousand Oaks, California. Principal shareholders named in the article, based on publicly filed papers, were Warren National Chief Executive Officer and President Paul S. Saltman of Westlake Village, California, and Joseph Benjoya. [http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i31/31a03501.htm Moonlighting for an Unaccredited University] by Andrea L. Foster, "The Chronicle of Higher Education", April 12, 2002] Both the "Chronicle" article and an earlier article in the USDLA Journal stated that Warren National also claimed to have offices in Moscow, Jakarta, and Singapore. [http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/NOV01_Issue/article02.html A Virtual Revolution:Trends in the Expansion of Distance Education] , "United States Distance Learning Association", November 2001.]

Licensing and accreditation status

Warren National University is registered with the Wyoming Department of Education [ [http://www.k12.wy.us/F/psl/degree.html] Wyoming Department of Education Private School Registration, accessed February 29, 2008] under W.S. 21-2-401 through 21-2-407. This registration allows the university to legally conduct business in the state. [ [http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2006/Summaries/SF0069.htm Wyoming Private school licensing-amendments] , "Joint Education Interim Committee"] However, WNU is currently not accredited by any higher education accreditation body recognized in the United States. As a condition of registration in Wyoming, the institution must meet standards contained in "Article 4: Private School Licensing." One such requirement, which took effect in July 2006, is that a school must either be accredited or be in the process of becoming accredited by a higher education accrediting organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. [http://www.k12.wy.us/F/psl/degree.html Wyoming Department of Education] , "Registered Private Degree Granting Post-Secondary Education Institutions"] [http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/20/wyoming Wyoming Toughens Up on Unaccredited] , "Inside Higher Education", March 20, 2006] In 2004, a Kennedy-Western official was quoted by the news media as saying that the school had decided not to seek accreditation, but would rely on its Wyoming license. [ [http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?filepath=/dailyfed/0704/072204pb.htm Detecting Diploma Mills] , by David McGlinchey, "Government Executive", July 22, 2004] However, in 2006, in order to continue operating in Wyoming, Warren National University applied for accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the recognized regional accreditation agency serving the state. [http://www.jacksonholestartrib.com/articles/2007/03/15/news/wyoming/91016bed29c488e38725729e0082649c.prt New law prompts online school changes] , "Jackson Hole Star Tribune", 2006] The accreditation process was expected to take several years. [http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/07/01/news/wyoming/35-status.txt Schools try to end unaccredited status] , "Billings Gazette", July 1, 2006. The article quoted Lady Branham, deputy to the association's executive director, as saying: "Accreditation generally involves an intensive review, including inspection visits by teams from the accrediting agency. After today's deadline to apply for accreditation, the law gives schools five years to achieve it. With North Central, that's a tight schedule. Just being accepted as an accreditation candidate with North Central is a process in itself. They could be candidates within four to five years. It's unlikely that it would be sooner. And then accreditation is usually four years after candidacy begins. And it's not automatic. It assumes that the institution actually completely fulfills all the criteria."] According to WNU, the school achieved "eligibility status" for accreditation in December 2007. [ [http://www.wnuedu.com/PublicAccreditationNotice.asp Public Accreditation Notice and Call for Third Party Comment] , WNU website, accessed July 19, 2008] The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Commission scheduled an "initial candidacy" visit by an evaluation team on October 13-15, 2008, another required step toward accreditation. [ [http://www.ncahlc.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=93&Itemid=206 Comprehensive Visit List] , The Higher Learning Commission website, accessed July 19, 2008]

"The Chronicle of Higher Education" stated in 2002, "Kennedy-Western University has a history of flirting with accreditation but failing to earn it." [http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i31/31a03502.htm Regulating Kennedy-Western -- or Not] by Andrea L. Foster, "The Chronicle of Higher Education", April 12, 2002] In 2001 Warren National announced it was considering applying to the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) for accreditation, a legitimate accreditor that is recognized for accrediting distance-learning institutions. However, the DETC's approval from the U.S. Department of Education does not authorize it to accredit institutions that award doctorates, and WNU did not pursue DETC accreditation.

Because WNU lacks accreditation, its degrees and credits might not be acceptable to some employers or other institutions. For example, WNU graduates are not qualified for faculty positions at WNU, at least not based on their WNU degrees. According to the "Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning", "There truly is no simple answer to the accredited vs. unaccredited issue, other than to say that one can rarely go wrong with a properly accredited degree. We hear from a moderate number of people who have made good use of an unaccredited (but totally legitimate) degree, but we hear from many more who have had significant problems with such degrees, in terms of acceptance by employers, admission to other schools, or simply bad publicity." [http://books.google.com/books?id=k67XC_7y5xEC&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&dq=acceptance+of+unaccredited+degrees&source=web&ots=PSW-jvQo8n&sig=MaPc6li0PwGb3-q2eTbPCqhTfIc Chapter 9 - Accredited versus Unaccredited: How Does One Decide?] , "Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning", p63 of the 15th edition.]

The use of unaccredited WNU degree titles may be legally restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions. [ [http://www.ed.gov/students/prep/college/diplomamills/accreditation.html Diploma Mills and Accreditation] , "U.S. Department of Education"] Jurisdictions that have restricted or made illegal the use of credentials from unaccredited schools include Oregon, [http://www.osac.state.or.us/oda/unaccredited.aspx Unaccredited Colleges] , "Oregon Office of Degree Authorization"] Michigan, [ [http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Non-accreditedSchools_78090_7.pdf Colleges and Universities not accredited by CHEA] , "Michigan Education and Children's Services"] Maine, [ [http://www.maine.gov/education/highered/Non-Accredited/non-accredited.htm Accredited and Non-Accredited Colleges and Universities] , "Maine’s List of Non-Accredited Post-Secondary Schools"] North Dakota, New Jersey, [ [http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-11/1220502921246120.xml&coll=1 Disputed degrees spur state changes] , The New Jersey Star-Ledger, September 4 2008] Washington, [ [http://www.hecb.wa.gov/autheval/daa/ConsumerInformation.asp Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board] , "Washington Consumer Information"] Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, [ [http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/AAR/PrivateInstitutions/NoTX.cfm Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to Use in Texas] , "Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board"] [ [http://www.herald-coaster.com/articles/2007/09/28/news/top_story/topstory.txt Two less doctors in the house - Hebert, Wilson back away from Ph.D.'s issued by ‘diploma mills'] ,by Stephen Palkot, "Fort Bend Herald", September 28, 2007] and Korea. [ [http://www.koreapot.com/bbs.php?inc=view&num=10&ctg=6&page=1&keyfield=&key=&andor= Guide to teaching English in Korea] Koreapot.com] WNU is also restricted from accepting students from Oregon, California, [http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i31/31a03501.htm Moonlighting for an Unaccredited University] by Andrea L. Foster, "The Chronicle of Higher Education", April 12, 2002] [http://www.wnuonlinedegrees.com/admission.asp?code= Warren National University ] ] or Utah. As an example of a law that may restrict WNU degree use, the use of a degree in Nevada that is based upon more than 10 percent life experience is defined as use of a fake or misleading degree and is subject to a fine up to $5,000 or up to six months in jail or both. [http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-394.html#NRS394Sec700 Use of False or Misleading Degrees] Nevada statute NRS 394.700] Note that it would require analysis on a case by case basis to evaluate whether or not the amount of life experience bestowed was greater than 10%. Many other states are also considering restrictions on the use of degrees from unaccredited institutions. [ [http://www.osac.state.or.us/oda/faq.html Is Oregon the only state that disallows use of unaccredited degrees?] "Oregon Office of Degree Authorization"]

Better Business Bureau

Warren National became a member of the Mountain States Better Business Bureau (BBB) in 1996 and formerly had a satisfactory record with the BBB Mountain States Better Business Bureau, "BBB Reliability Report for Warren National University," August 27, 2007] , but on March 26, 2008, BBB's board of directors revoked WNU's accreditation because WNU had not responded to complaints against it within the BBB's required timeframe. Mountain States Better Business Bureau, " [http://wynco.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=98&bbb=0805&firm=11000363"BBB Reliability Report for Warren National University] ," March 26, 2008]


Warren National University offers bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration, computer science, management information systems, and health administration, as well as a Doctor of Business Administration degree. [http://www.wnuedu.com/academics-areas-of-study.asp Warren National University Areas of Study] Warren National University website]

According to a 2004 article in the Laramie County Community College student newspaper, in the KWU program in 2004 the average time for graduation was 2.4 years; the average student age was 42, with an average of eight years of work experience in their field of study.

At the 2005 Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Warren National University faculty members gave a presentation on the method used to deliver academic courses. Andree Swanson and Keren Meier-Emerich offered the following abstract for their presentation.

"This is an example of one course, out of 500 courses offered, which demonstrates the delivery model used by Kennedy-Western University. Courses are designed using a modular format, which includes multiple self-assessment opportunities. Offered as open-entry, a student may be the only one taking the course at a given time or may be one of many enrolled at the same time. The model allows for anytime, any pace, and any place learning." [ [http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/Resource_library/search_detail.cfm?presid=1891 Asynchronous delivery of an open-entry course] , "Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning", The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, 2005]

In the "Understanding New Media" book's section on virtual universities, author Kim Veltman mentions, "By leveraging the power of the internet, Kennedy-Western has refined the academic process and opened up countless opportunities to adult learners. And they used Jones e-Global Library." [http://books.google.com/books?id=k7CKpNO67XAC&pg=RA1-PA3&dq=%22kennedy+western%22&sig=Vyyr2akJaF_VvJE1am1w5TyR1JU#PRA1-PA3,M1 Understanding New Media: Augmented Knowledge and Culture] , "University of Calgary Press", ISBN-13: 978-1552381540, July 30, 2006.]

In a "Chronicle of Higher Education" article, Kennedy-Western faculty members stated students, "...often use the same textbooks and take exams as rigorous as those offered in professors' traditional classes." [http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i31/31a03501.htm Moonlighting for an Unaccredited University] by Andrea L. Foster, "The Chronicle of Higher Education", April 12, 2002]


In 2007 a Warren National official told a reporter that the institution had between 135 and 150 faculty members. According to WNU spokesmen and the school's website, 80% of the academic faculty hold doctoral degrees from accredited institutions and the remainder hold master's degrees from accredited institutions. [http://www.wnuedu.com/academics-faculty.asp Warren National University Faculty] , "Warren National University website"] [http://www.billingsgazette.com/newdex.php?display=rednews/2005/01/30/build/wyoming/40-online-learning.inc State mulls online learning] by the Associated Press, "Billings Gazette", January 30, 2005] In 2002 "The Chronicle of Higher Education" reported that WNU would not disclose the number of faculty, the method of compensation, the proportion of faculty that is full-time or the ownership of the institution. However, WNU stated that half of the faculty were full-time faculty members in other institutions, and "the Chronicle" determined that at least 22 WNU instructors were full-time faculty at other state and private academic institutions, primarily associate and assistant professors in business, computer science, or engineering at state universities. According to the "Chronicle", these part-time WNU faculty were paid on a piecework basis, reportedly receiving "$25 to grade a paper, a couple of hundred dollars to develop a course, and $40 an hour to answer students' questions." Some of these faculty were unwilling to talk openly about their work for WNU due to concern that their regular employers or their colleagues would disapprove of their work for an unaccredited institution "that many educators hold ... in low regard."

Plagiarism detection

In 2005 the "Christian Science Monitor" reported that Kennedy-Western University had become the first college in the United States to screen faculty research and course materials with plagiarism-detection software. No faculty members had been found to be plagiarizing during the first six months of using this software. Susan Ishii, KWU director of student affairs, said that the impetus for this testing had come from faculty members, but Tim Dodd, the executive director of the Center for Academic Integrity, was quoted as expressing concern that the use of anti-plagiarism software undermined "the expectation of trust in a mature scholarly community." [ [http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0427/p15s01-legn.html Profs who plagiarize: how often?] By Susan Llewelyn Leach, "The Christian Science Monitor", April 27, 2005]


GAO investigation

"From July 2003 through February 2004" [http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0504/051204d1.htm Lawmakers consider legislation to close diploma-mill loophole] , By David McGlinchey, "Government Executive", May 12, 2004] , an investigation was conducted by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) to determine whether the federal government had paid for degrees from diploma mills and other unaccredited postsecondary schools. Investigators determined that the federal government employed 463 individuals with degrees from unaccredited institutions including Kennedy-Western University. [http://www.senate.gov/~govt-aff/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=716&Affiliation=R Senator Collins Unveils GAO Report Showing Federal Agencies Purchased Bogus Degrees with Taxpayer Dollars: GAO Uncovers over $170,000 in Federal Payments to Two Unaccredited Schools] , Senate Governmental Affairs Committee press release, May 11, 2004] Senator Collins presented the GAO report to the Committee on Governmental Affairs, of which she was the Chair and ranking Republican.

Witness testimony was provided during the same hearing by Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Claudia Gelzer, who was assigned as a staff aide to the committee, testified that Kennedy Western gave her life experience credit towards a master's in environmental engineering. Kennedy Western waived 43% of the course credit required for the degree based only on her application and descriptions of prior coursework and military training. She testified that Kennedy Western didn't check any of her claimed work experience. With 16 hours of effort she was able to earn 40% of the total remaining coursework required for her master's. "As for my first-hand experience with Kennedy-Western courses and passing the tests, I found that basic familiarity with the textbook was all I needed. I was able to find exam answers without having read a single chapter of the text... As for what I learned, the answer is very little." [ [http://hsgac.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Testimony&HearingID=176&WitnessID=632 Statement of Lieutenant Commander Claudia Gelzer] , Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, "Bogus Degrees and Unmet Expectations: Are Taxpayer Dollars Subsidizing Diploma Mills? (Day 2)",
May 12, 2004

Kennedy-Western was not invited to testify before the Senate committee.The university's Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. David Gering, stated to "The Oregonian", "We clearly believe that we are not a diploma mill and have an academically rigorous program." [ [http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2004/08/05/news/wyoming/843f046c71bb1dfa87256ee60003f34c.txt Wyo university sues Oregon to defend its diplomas] , "Star Tribune", August 5, 2004] Mr. Lewis M. Phelps, a spokesman for Kennedy-Western University, said the online university was unfairly tarnished in the report. "The basic equation GAO seems to have come up with is 'no accreditation, no good,' " Phelps said. "We don't think that's valid." [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18845-2004May11.html Public Paid for Bogus Degrees] , "Washington Post", May 12, 2004.]

Oregon lawsuit

In July 2004, Warren National University filed a lawsuit on behalf of three former students, challenging an Oregon law that made it illegal for résumés used in connection with employment (including job applications) in the state to list degrees from institutions that are not accredited or recognized by the state as legitimate. [http://chronicle.com/free/v47/i28/28a03401.htm States Struggle to Regulate Online Colleges That Lack Accreditation] , by Sarah Carr and Andrea L. Foster, "The Chronicle of Higher Education", March 23, 2001.] In the suit, WNU asserted that the Oregon law violated its graduates' constitutional rights. In December 2004, Warren National and Oregon reached an out-of-court settlement in the case. Under the terms of the settlement, Oregon agreed to revise its law, allowing graduates of unaccredited and unapproved schools to list an unaccredited degree on a résumé as long as they note the school's unaccredited status in the résumé. The statutory revision was enacted in 2005. [ [http://www.leg.state.or.us/comm/sms/sms05/sb1039aconfx06-22-2005.pdf Conference Committee on SB 1039] , "73rd Oregon Legislative Assembly - 2005 Regular Session, Measure: SB 1039 A*", June 22, 2005.] In the settlement, the Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization (ODA) also agreed to refrain from referring to the school as a "diploma mill" and the state attorney general's office agreed to provide ODA personnel with a training session on law related to defamation. [http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2004/12/20/daily26.html Oregon settles with unaccredited university] , "Portland Business Journal", December 22, 2004.] [http://www.globeinvestor.com/servlet/ArticleNews/story/BWIRE/20041221/20041221005728 Oregon Settles Federal Lawsuit Filed by Kennedy-Western University; State Officials Will Seek Changes to State Law Regulating the Use of Degrees from Unaccredited Universities] , Kennedy-Western press release by David Gering, "Businesswire", December 21, 2004] However, Oregon still does not allow WNU degrees to be used for governmental employment or for professional licenses [ [http://insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/07/oregon "Scarlet Letter"] , "Inside Higher Education", July 7, 2005] because the ODA determined that the institution does not meet standard academic requirements as specified by Oregon statute ORS 348.609(1).

See also

* Diploma mill
* Distance education
* Educational accreditation
* Electronic learning
* List of unaccredited institutions of higher learning
* Virtual university


External links

* [http://www.wnuedu.com/ Warren National University] , official website
* [http://www.vogtland.ws/KWU/kwu_student_handbook.pdf Kennedy Western University Student Handbook 03v1]

* [http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i31/31a03501.htm Moonlighting for an Unaccredited University] , "Chronicle of Higher Education", April 12, 2002.
* [http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i31/31a03502.htm Regulating Kennedy-Western -- or Not] , "Chronicle of Higher Education", April 12, 2002.
* [http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04771t.pdf GAO Investigation, Government funds in question]
** [http://hsgac.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Testimony&HearingID=176&WitnessID=633 Ex-employee Andrew Coulombe's Testimony]
** [http://senate.gov/~gov_affairs/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Testimony&HearingID=176&WitnessID=632 Investigator Lt. Cmdr Claudia Gelzer's Testimony]

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