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National University (NU) is a private non-profit institution located in San Diego, California. There are, however, campuses throughout the state and even a satellite facility in Nevada. The university also offers a wide variety of programs online. Founded in 1971, it has developed significantly over the years and is now mostly intended for adult learners. Affiliate schools include Northcentral University and City University of Seattle.

Overview of National University (NU)

The university is dedicated to meeting the needs of hard-working adults across the United States. It provides accessible, affordable, and achievable higher education opportunities. Students gain real-world, career-relevant skills that set them up for success in their current roles and future career endeavors. National University was recognized by the 2012 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Circle of Excellence for various recruitment and alumni relations publications. Additionally, the institution was named one of the best colleges in the nation to work for in 2010.

The total student population at National University is 18,070, with 8,441 enrolled in undergraduate programs. The school employs approximately 211 full-time and 2,293 part-time faculty members, all of whom focus solely on instruction. All faculty members bring their passion and expertise to the classroom, whether on campus or online, and provide unwavering support to those enrolled. The student-to-faculty ratio 16:1, which is below the national average reported by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2018.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing No
Student Faculty Ratio 16:1
Graduation Rate 47%
Year Founded 1900

Student Enrollment

Total Students16,670


Undergraduate Student

Male 3,237
Female 4,119

Graduate Student

Male 4,098
Female 5,216

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National University (NU) Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 25
Female 22


Male 20
Female 20

Acceptance Rate89%

Male 80%
Female 91%

Enrollment 18

Male 7
Female 11
Application Fee NA
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Considered But Not Required
High School Transcripts NA
College Prep Courses NA
Recommendations NA
Formal demonstration of competencies Considered But Not Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline Rolling
Common Application Accepted No

NU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

National University charges per quarter hour, with rates varying depending on degree type and course level. As of March 1, 2022, each quarter unit costs $370 for undergraduate students and $442 for graduate students. Those enrolled in undergraduate NSG courses pay $388. Certain programs also have different rates, with each quarter hour costing $450 for the Master of Science in Nursing, $650 for the Doctor of Education, and $798 for the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice.

The institution also requires payment of various fees, which vary based on student status and course type. Additionally, many other expenses must be account for. These include room, board, books, and supplies. Notably, living with family or friends nearby can decrease this commitment significantly.

The financial aid team at National University is ready to help students understand the cost of education, as well as the resources available to help pay for it. Students may be eligible for various types of assistance such as grants, scholarships, and loans. To identify which items are applicable, the institution requires students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each fiscal year. While university scholarships are available, opportunities are relatively limited.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $29,382
Average Total Aid $4,845
Students Receiving Financial Aid 73%
Room & Board $13,408

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $13,320
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $13,320
  • Books and Supplies - $1,752
  • Room & Board - $13,408
  • Other - $4,688


A pioneer in online education, National University has been providing remote learning options for over 20 years. Classes are also available on-site and on military bases throughout the nation. The institution offers over 75 programs and four-week courses designed to help students reach their goals while simultaneously balancing their busy lives.

Students can choose to pursue subjects in the following areas:

  • Teaching and Education
  • Business and Marketing
  • Healthcare and Nursing
  • Social Science and Psychology
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Criminal Justice and Law
  • Science and Math

The retention rate for first-time, full-time, undergraduate freshmen who began their studies in 2019 was 45%. For first-time, part-time, undergraduate students the retention rate was 54%. Both of these statistics are quite a bit lower than the national average of 68% for the entire nation. This data indicates that the majority of full-time students enrolled at the university were unhappy with their overall experience and chose not to return in 2020, while slightly more part-time students remained.

The overall graduation rate for full-time, first-time students who began their studies in fall 2015 was 47%, while the transfer-out rate was 43%. Only 11% of these students were able to graduate within four years, while most required six years to complete graduation requirements.

National University has been regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) since 1977. The commission accredits institutions rather than individual programs, but many of the programs offered are individually accredited by other agencies. Some prominent examples include the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), National Council on the Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE), and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Student Population Total

Student Population 16,670

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Health Professions and Related Programs 512 Total Graduates / 28%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 326 Graduates
Community Health and Preventive Medicine 75 Graduates
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 37 Graduates
Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Technologist 35 Graduates
All Business Majors 399 Total Graduates / 22%
Business Administration and Management, General 234 Graduates
Accounting 45 Graduates
Organizational Leadership 40 Graduates
Management Information Systems, General 39 Graduates
All Education Majors 203 Total Graduates / 11%
Early Childhood Education and Teaching 144 Graduates
Elementary Education and Teaching 40 Graduates
English/Language Arts Teacher Education 12 Graduates
Mathematics Teacher Education 4 Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services 180 Total Graduates / 10%
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration 105 Graduates
Homeland Security 56 Graduates
Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism 19 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 169 Total Graduates / 9%
Psychology, General 167 Graduates
Psychology, Other 2 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 21%

Outcome & Salary

Through numerous educational partnerships, National University helps businesses and organizations find qualified employees through customized education and training programs. Some top partners who regularly hire graduates include Sharp Healthcare, Hunter Industries, YMCA, and AMN Healthcare.

The institution states that graduates are well prepared to advance in their fields, but there are no alumni surveys with specific data available. In 2021, the Business Standard News agency did report, however, that 66% of those who graduating from colleges affiliated with National University were not employed. According to PayScale, the average base salary for National University graduates is $79,000 per year.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $57,100
College Grads Average Salary $77,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $94,500
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $770,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,715,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $117,528
10 Year Projected ROI $652,472
20 Year Projected ROI $1,597,472
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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