Trident University International

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Trident at AIU
Shield with ancient trident
Former names
TUI University, Trident University International
MottoAspire, Believe, Achieve
TypePrivate, online, For-Profit
PresidentJohn Kline
Vice-presidentTravis Allen
, ,
United States

Trident at AIU (Trident) is a private for-profit online university based in Cypress, California. It was acquired by American InterContinental University, headquartered in Chandler, Arizona in 2020. It offers associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs as well as certificates[1] in business, health sciences, education, and information systems.

Trident offers 5 doctoral degrees,[2] 8 master's degrees, 8 bachelor's degrees, 1 associate degree, and 6 professional certificate and diplomas programs. Enrollment as of 2014 was about 75% military.[3]


Founded in 1998, it has its headquarters in Cypress, California. Currently the university has more than 30,000 alumni.[4]

Trident at AIU’s story starts with the founding of Touro University International a branch campus of Touro College, New York,(Private not-for-profit) in July 1998, by its founders Dr. Yoram Neumann and Edith Neumann. It was the first university in the world to offer a regionally accredited doctorate program online with no residency requirement. Touro University International was initially accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Touro College - including the Touro University International branch campus - was subsequently re-accredited by MSCHE in 2004. Because of its location in California, robust growth, fiscal and operational stability, and unique online delivery model, Touro University International was separately accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) [Now called the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)] in February 2005. In October 2007, Touro University International was sold to Summit Partners for 190 million dollars and a new institution, TUI University (now Trident at AIU) was formed and incorporated as a private for profit.[5] Under the new ownership, the management team continued to lead the institution while the learning model, faculty, and staff maintain their central roles in the quality and vitality of the university. In January 2011, TUI University officially changed its name to Trident University International. On March 29, 2015 Jones International University (JIU) announced it would close in 2016 and that it had entered into a formal transfer agreement with Trident University International that would provide all JIU students with individualized, custom learning plans and the opportunity to transition their studies to Trident. Trident also announced plans to rename its business school The Glenn R. Jones College of Business Administration.[6] In March 2019, Career Education Corporation entered into an agreement to acquire Trident University International for $35 - 44 million from Summit Partners and merged this acquisition into Career Education Corporation's American InterContinental University as a branch campus. Trident at AIU was officially granted accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission - North Central Association of colleges & Schools on February 19, 2020. Trident withdrew accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) on March 2, 2020.[7]

Investigations and controversies[edit]

In June 2011, the WSCUC Commission received information that Trident awarded baccalaureate degrees to students who had not fulfilled the University's general education (GE) requirements. In addition, Trident failed to notify WSCUC of this problem when it was first brought to the institution's attention by the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOCNAV), an organization that works with the United States Navy to assure that the colleges that Navy personnel attend are appropriately accredited and military friendly. Because of the serious breach of Standards One and Two related to integrity and general education, the Commission issued an Order to Show Cause why Trident's accreditation should not be terminated effective March 30, 2012. On March 11, 2013, the WSCUC Commission confirmed that Trident had satisfactorily addressed the two Core Commitments to Institutional Capacity and Educational Effectiveness, and had successfully completed the three-stage review conducted under the Standards of Accreditation and reaffirmed Trident’s accreditation. [8]

As of 2015, Trident was under heightened cash monitoring by the US Department of Education "to provide additional oversight of cash management."[9]

In 2017, the Veterans Education Success organization became aware that Trident had used misleading information to recruit “survivors” who have Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Survivors are the children of a father or mother who was killed while on active duty and their widows or husbands. [10]

On March 9, 2020, the Department of Veterans Affairs suspended G.I. Bill reimbursement eligibility for American InterContinental University and several other for-profit schools due to what the V.A. said were "erroneous, deceptive, or misleading enrollment and advertising practices", giving the schools 60 days to take "corrective action".[11]


Trident at American InterContinental University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[12] Trident offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level degrees in a 100% online environment in the following colleges:

  • Glenn R. Jones College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • College of Information Systems

Student Outcomes[edit]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Trident at AIU has a 6-year graduation rate of 19% and a 3-year default rate of 17 percent.[13]



The student body of Trident is made up of a large number of veterans and active service members. In 2014, 2,202 students were receiving benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and 7,233 students were using the DoD Tuition Assistance Program.[14]


In total, Trident has 394 faculty members. Most are part-time (353) with 41 working at Trident in a full-time capacity.

In March 2020, John Kline was named president. He has previously held senior management roles at American InterContinental University, Argosy University, Nelnet Enrollment Solutions, and University of Phoenix.[15]

In May 2016, Dr. Mickey Shachar was named Dean of its College of Health and Human Services.[16] In June 2016, Dr. Heidi Linn (Gilligan) Smith was named Dean of its College of Education.[17] In May 2017, Dr. Debra Louis was named Dean of its Glenn R. Jones College of Business.[18] As of August 14, 2017, Dr. Lisa Mohanty was named Dean of its University College[19]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Robyn J. Blader, United States National Guard Brigadier General
  • William Gainey, United States Army Command Sergeant Major (R), the first Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC)
  • David O'Donahue, Deputy Adjutant General-Civil Support of the Wisconsin National Guard
  • Kenneth Preston, 13th Sergeant Major of the Army.
  • Stephen Templin, bestselling author of "Seal Team Six"
  • Tony Tinderholt, Texas State Senator
  • John W. Troxell, United States Army Command Sergeant Major (R), the third Senior Enlisted Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC)

See also[edit]

  • List of colleges and universities in California


  1. "Trident University International". Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  2. "Online Doctor of Business Administration". Trident University International. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  3. "Best for Vets: Colleges 2016 - Military Times". Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  4. "Why Trident–Online Learning: Trident University". Trident University International. 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  6. "First accredited online school, Jones University,to shutter in 2016". Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  7. "Top Ranked Universities: Trident University International". 20 September 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  9. "Heightened Cash Monitoring | Federal Student Aid". Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  11. "VA to suspend some GI Bill enrollments, holding back more than $200 million from 'deceptive' universities". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  12. "Trident at AIU - The Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  14. "College Navigator - Trident University International". Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  16. "Trident University International Selects New Health Sciences Dean". 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  17. "Trident University International Selects New College of Education Dean". 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  18. "Dr. Debra Louis Named Dean of Trident University's College of Business". Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  19. "Dr. Lisa Mohanty Profile". Retrieved 2017-08-21.

External links[edit]