University of Phoenix
|University of Phoenix|
(a wholly owned subsidiary of Apollo Group Inc.)
|Location||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Campus locations||204 campuses and learning centers, online|
The University of Phoenix (UOPX) is an American for-profit institution of higher learning, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Apollo Group Inc., a publicly traded (NASDAQ: APOL) S&P 500 Phoenix-based corporation that owns several for-profit educational institutions.
The university has 112 campuses worldwide and confers degrees in over 100 degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. The University of Phoenix closed 115 of its campuses in 2013, previously having over 200.
It is one of the largest higher-education providers in North America. Although the university attained a peak enrollment of almost 600,000 students in 2010, a 30-percent enrollment drop in 2011 was attributed to operational changes amid criticism of high debt loads and low job prospects for university students. These changes included allowing students to try classes before officially enrolling and recruiter training programs that are designed to improve student retention and completion rates.
In October 2012, it announced plans to close 115 campuses due to a drastic drop in its profits. The New York Times reported that "enrollments at the University of Phoenix and in the for-profit sector over all have been declining in the last two years, partly because of growing competition from other online providers, including nonprofit and public universities, and a steady drumroll of negative publicity about the sector’s recruiting abuses, low graduation rates and high default rates ... including many charges that the schools enrolled students who had almost no chance of succeeding, to get their federal student aid."
The university has an open-enrollment admission policy, requiring a high-school diploma, GED, or its equivalent as its criterion for admissions. It also provides associate or bachelor's degree applicants opportunity for advanced placement through its prior-learning assessment, through which, aside from previous coursework, college credit can come from experiential learning essays, corporate training, and certificates or licenses.
Early years 
The university was founded by John Sperling, who felt that "working adult students were often invisible on traditional campuses and treated as second-class citizens." Started in 1976 in the Phoenix metropolitan area, the first class consisted of eight students. In 1980, the school expanded to San Jose, California, and in 1989, the university launched its online program.
Governmental lawsuits and investigations 
In 2000, the federal government fined the university $6 million for failing to include study-group meetings as instructional hours. In 2002, the Department of Education relaxed requirements on instructional hours.
A 2003 lawsuit filed by two former university recruiters alleged that the university improperly obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid by paying its admission counselors based on the number of students they enrolled, a violation of the Higher Education Act. The university's parent company settled by paying the government $67.5 million, plus $11 million in legal fees, without admitting any wrongdoing.
In 2004, the Department of Education alleged that UOPX again violated Higher Education Act provisions that prohibit offering financial incentives to admission representatives and pressured its recruiters to enroll students. UOPX disputed the findings but paid a $9.8 million fine as part of a settlement where it admitted no wrongdoing and was not required to return any financial aid funds. UOPX's president stated that though recruiters were paid a commission based on the number of students enrolled, their compensation is not based solely on that criteria. The university also paid $3.5 million to the Department of Labor to settle a violation of overtime compensation regarding hours worked by UOPX's recruiters. The University of Phoenix settled a false claims suit for $78.5 million in 2009 over its recruiter-pay practices.
In 2008, the university was the top recipient of student financial aid funds, receiving nearly $2.48 billion. In 2009, the Department of Education produced a report that claimed the untimely return of unearned Title IV funds for more than 10 percent of sampled students. The report also expressed concern that some students register and begin attending classes before completely understanding the implications of enrollment, including their eligibility for student financial aid. In January 2010, the parent company Apollo Group was required to post a letter of credit for $125 million by January 30 of the same year. In 2010, UOPX came under government scrutiny after its Phoenix and Philadelphia campuses were found to have been engaging in deceptive enrollment practices and fraudulent solicitation of FAFSA funds.
The university has campuses and learning centers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and the Netherlands.
While the school specializes in online programs, the campuses offer additional programs and services. Online students are also able to use tutoring and social centers, which can also be used for social and student meetings. The first center opened in 2007 in Plano, Texas.
Students have access to class-specific online resources, which include an electronic library, textbooks, and other ancillary material required for a course. The university says that the electronic textbooks include search features and hyperlinks to glossary terms that make the books easier to use for research.
In October 2012 Apollo announced it would close 115 University of Phoenix locations.
The university offers degree programs through seven colleges and two schools. These are named the School of Advanced Studies, School of Business, College of Criminal Justice and Security, College of Education, College of Humanities, College of Information Systems and Technology, College of Natural Sciences, College of Nursing, and the College of Social Sciences. In addition to its traditional education programs, the school offers continuing education courses for teachers and practitioners, professional development courses for companies, and specialized courses of study for military personnel.
Students spend 20 to 24 hours with an instructor during each course, compared with about 40 hours at a traditional university. The university also requires students to collaborate by working on learning team projects, wherein the class will be divided into learning teams of four to five students. Each learning team is assigned a team forum where team members will discuss the project and submit their agreed upon portions of the learning team assignment for compilation by the nominated learning team leader. The concept of learning teams is somewhat uncommon in traditional academia; however, the University of Phoenix believes that collaborating on projects and having individuals rely on each other reflects the real working conditions of the corporate world.
Through its online portal, eCampus, University of Phoenix students also have access to software required for coursework. Available, for example, are virtual companies created by the university to provide students with assignments, which Adam Honea, UOPX's dean and provost, claims are more realistic than those available with case studies. In August 2011, Apollo group announced it would buy 100% of Carnegie Learning to accelerate its efforts to incorporate adaptive learning into its academic platform.
Some academics and former students feel the abbreviated courses and the use of learning teams result in an inferior education. The University of Phoenix has been criticized for lack of academic rigor. Henry M. Levin, a professor of higher education at Teachers College at Columbia University, called its business degree an "MBA Lite," saying "I've looked at [its] course materials. It's a very low level of instruction." In May 2008, the university announced the formation of the University of Phoenix National Research Center, designed to study which teaching methods work best for nontraditional students.
Admissions and financial aid 
The University of Phoenix has an open admissions policy. In response to complaints about the use of financial aid by for-profit colleges in 2010 the university began an orientation program designed to lower dropout and default rates. Students must successfully complete a three-week orientation workshop in order to be eligible to start their first credit/cost bearing course. Students who do not complete the workshop after two attempts must wait six months before attempting again.
Phoenix recruited students using high pressure sales tactics by admissions counselors who are paid, in part, based on their success in recruiting students. Since 2010, changes were implemented to the way the university recruits students.
The university heavily recruits students and obtains financial aid on their behalf, such as the Academic Competitiveness Grant, Federal Pell Grant, National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant), Federal Direct Student Loan Program, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Perkins Loan, and the Wounded Warrior Project. For the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the University of Phoenix student body received more Pell Grant money ($656.9 million) than any other university.
The University of Phoenix has been regionally accredited since 1978 by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) as a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). In February 2013, a peer review group recommended to the HLC that the university be put on probation because the University of Phoenix "has insufficient autonomy relative to its parent corporation." On May 9, 2013, the Apollo Group filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission which stated that the HLC Institutional Actions Council First Committee (“IACFC”) had recommended to the HLC that the university retain its regional accreditation, but that the university be placed on "notice" for two years. Their concerns center on the university's governance, student assessment, and faculty scholarship in relation to PhD programs. The final decision will be determined on June 27, 2013, and sent to the university in the weeks thereafter.
Some individual colleges within the University of Phoenix hold specialty accreditation or are pre-accredited by accrediting agencies that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
- School of Business – accreditation through the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Because Phoenix's business programs are not accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), some companies will not provide tuition reimbursement for employees attending Phoenix.
- College of Education – Master of Education is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)
- College of Nursing – B.S. and M.S. degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE),
- College of Social Sciences – Master of Science in Counseling degree programs in Community Counseling and Mental Health Counseling are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Organization and administration 
Marketing and advertising 
The university paid $154.5 million for 20-year naming rights for advertising purposes of the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, a municipal sports arena, home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, and the site of the NCAA's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The university does not participate in intercollegiate sports.
The average age of a University of Phoenix student is between 33 (undergraduate) and 36 (graduate), and most students have work-related commitments. The University states that nearly two-thirds of its students are women and that a plurality of students attending the school study business (undergraduate students representing 29.9% and graduate students 12.9%), followed closely by those enrolled in Axia College for Associate's degrees (28.1%).
The student population is approximately 25% African-American and almost 13% Latino. The university graduates the largest number of underrepresented students with Master's degrees in business, health care, and education than any other U.S. school. The University of Phoenix was also named one of the nation's top 20 institutions of higher education favorable to military personnel, according to the December 2008 issue of Military Advanced Education. Nearly 29,000 active-duty military, their spouses, and veterans were enrolled in University of Phoenix degree programs at that time with more than 7,200 military members or veterans graduated from the university during that year. In 2012, University of Phoenix was ranked 30th in Guide to Online School's 'Online Military-Friendly College Rankings '
When calculated using the standards set by the Department of Education, the university's overall graduation rate is 16 percent, which, when compared to the national average of 55 percent, is among the nation's lowest. The federal standard measures graduation rates as the percentage of first-time undergraduates who obtain a degree within six years. The number is significantly lower at the university's Southern California campus (six percent) and its online programs (four percent). This measurement does not take into consideration the typical University of Phoenix student who comes to the University as a dropout from another institution, so is not a first-time college student. The university acknowledges the 16-percent graduation rate but takes exception to the standard used by the Department of Education to calculate the rate, saying that the rate is based upon criteria that apply to only seven percent of the university's student population. The university publishes a self-calculated graduation rate of 59 percent to account for its large population of non-traditional students.
The university's faculty consists of approximately 1,500 core faculty and 20,000 associate (part-time or adjunct) faculty members who all hold graduate degrees. Its reliance on part-time faculty – 95 percent of Phoenix instructors teach part-time, compared to an average of 47 percent nationwide – has been criticized by regulators and academic critics. Most of the classes are centrally crafted and standardized across teachers in order to ensure consistency and reduce costs for the school. Additionally, faculty members do not get tenure. According to a university officer, pre-screened instructional candidates participate in a training program in the discipline in which they teach, which he states has the effect of weeding out 40 percent to 50 percent of the less-committed or -capable applicants.
African-Americans make up more than fifteen percent of the university's 22,000 faculty members, and about six percent are Latino.
As of March 2010[update], 538,000 people had graduated from the university. Phoenix alumni in the government sector include White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters ('94), and member of the Utah House of Representatives Brad Dee ('91).
In military and law enforcement, alumni include U.S. Navy Admiral Kirkland H. Donald, and Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Harold Hurtt ('91). MSNBC anchor and a host of NBC's Early Today Christina Brown is also an alumna of the university.
See also 
- Harlan, Kevin (March 25, 2013). "University Of Phoenix Enrollment Slides, But EPS Beat". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- "UPX Campus Locations". University of Phoenix. Retrieved May 3, 2008.
- Allen, Lee (August 8, 2008). "University of Phoenix Provides Growth Opportunities for Working Adults". Inside Tucson Business. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
- Lewin, Tamar (October 17, 2012). "University of Phoenix to Shutter 115 Locations". The New York Times.
- [dead link] "Apollo Group 4Q Net Soars on Fewer Charges; Enrollment Falls". The Wall Street Journal. October 19, 2011.
- Lauerman, John (October 19, 2011). "Apollo Fourth-Quarter Profit, Sales Top Analysts' Estimates". Bloomberg. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
- "Admissions Requirements – University of Phoenix". University of Phoenix. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- [dead link] . University of Phoenix.
- [dead link] Swenson, Craig. "New Models for Higher Education: Creating an Adult-Centered Institution" (PDF format; requires Adobe Reader). Retrieved September 18, 2008.
- Andrew Farrell Forbes (hosted on CBCNews), The Web Billionaires, September 19, 2008
- "Telephony Online, ''Desktop degrees, University of Phoenix takes education on-line'', May 26, 1997". Telephonyonline.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Lewin, Tamar (August 9, 2011). "Education Management Corporation Accused of Widespread Fraud". The New York Times.
- Yung, Katherine (February 28, 2004). "Dealing in Diplomas, For the University of Phoenix, College Is a Big Business – And Getting Gigger". The Dallas Morning News.
- Dillon, Sam (February 11, 2007). "Troubles Grow for a University Built on Profits". The New York Times, February 11, 2007.
- "University's Owner Settles Federal Dispute Over Student Aid". The New York Times. May 14, 2000. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
- "''United States of America ex rel. Hendow v. University of Phoenix, Second Amended Complaint''" (PDF; requires Adobe Reader). Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "List of Court Documents Related to False Claims Suit". Kroplaw.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Krieger, Lisa M. (June 23, 2007). "Lawsuit: University of Phoenix Breached Ethics, Laws: U. of Phoenix Recruiters Cite Pressure Tactics". San Jose Mercury News (via Crown College Lawsuits). Retrieved October 20, 2012.
- Gilbertson, Dawn (October 4, 2009). "University of Phoenix case may get closure". Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
- "For-Profit Educator to Pay $67.5 Million Settlement". The Wall Street Journal. December 15, 2009. p. B4.
- "US DOE Program Review Report" (PDF). Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Student-recruitment Tactics at University of Phoenix Blasted by Feds Univ. of Phoenix Audit Leads to $9.8 mil Fine The Arizona Republic, September 14, 2004, by Dawn Gilbertson
- University of Phoenix Receives Record Fine Austin Business Journal, September 14, 2004
- Blumenstyk, Goldie (October 8, 2004). "U. of Phoenix Uses Pressure in Recruiting, Report Says – Institution Disputes Charges That It pumps Up Enrollment through Illegal Tactics" (PDF; requires Adobe Reader). Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- US DOE and U. of Phoenix Settlement Agreement[dead link]
- Katherine Mangu-Ward, Katherine (July 2008). "Education for Profit – Why Is Everyone Flaming the University of Phoenix?". Reason. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- University of Phoenix, Dept. of Labor Reach Overtime Agreement The Phoenix Business Journal, July 23, 2004
- Apollo to pay Department of Labor $2M-$3M to Settle Case Austin Business Journal, July 17, 2004.
- Gilbertson, Dawn (December 15, 2009). "Apollo Group Settles Suit for $78.5 Million". Arizona Republic. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
- Top 100 Recipients of Federal Assistance for FY 2008, www.usaspending.gov, US government
- "Apollo Repaid Education Aid Late, Gave Lax Counseling". BusinessWeek. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
- Lauerman, John (August 4, 2010). "For-Profit Colleges Misled Students, Witnesses Say". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Bloomberg August 4, 2010 article.
- [dead link] "Apollo Group Enters Mexican Education Market". Latin American Venture Capital Association.
- Pepalis, Bob (July 28, 2008). "University of Phoenix Fills Online, Campus Classrooms". NorthFulton.com. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- Staff (July 19, 2007). "University of Phoenix Opens First Resource Center". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- Leonard, Wendy (August 25, 2008). "E-Books Make Learning Cheaper – They're Popular with University of Phoenix Faculty, Students". Deseret News. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- Lewin, Tamar (October 17, 2012). "University of Phoenix to Shutter 115 Locations". New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- "Just the Facts". University of Phoenix. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- "UoP Online and Campus Programs". University of Phoenix. Retrieved May 4, 2008.
- "Learning Teams – University of Phoenix". University of Phoenix. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Wasley, Paula (August 8, 2008). "University Offers Real Job Training at Unreal Companies". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Gabriel, Trip (August 2, 2011). "Apollo Group to Buy Maker of Math Courses". The New York Times.
- "U. of Phoenix Draws Big Names to Advisory Panel on New Center on Teaching Adults". Chronicle of Higher Education. May 27, 2008.
- National Center for Education Statistics (2008). "College Navigator – University of Phoenix". Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- John Hechinger, For-Profit College Slump Converging With Student Life-Debtors, Bloomberg, December 28, 2010, Accessed January 8, 2011.
- KHOU "Get Your Degree" February 17 2012
- "Changes to enrollment-recruiting-practices – ". Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- "New Default Rate Data for Federal Student Loans: 44% of Defaulters Attended For-Profit Institutions". The Pew Charitable Trusts. December 15, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- http://www.trends-collegeboard.com/student_aid/pdf/2009_Trends_Student_Aid.pdf[dead link]
- Gonzales, Angela (2/25/2013). "Senior Reporter". Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved 3/11/2013.
- Kirkham, Chris (February 25, 2013). "University of Phoenix Accreditation Hits Snag As Panel Recommends Probation". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- "Current ACBSP Educational Institution Members". Acbsp.org. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Gilbertson, Dawn (December 5, 2006). "Losing Intel a Blow to School". The Arizona Republic.
- Stu Woo, Intel Cuts 100 Colleges From Its Tuition-Reimbursement Program for Employees, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2, 2007.
- "''University of Phoenix Staggers Under Growing Criticism'', ConsumerAffairs.com, by Truman Lewis, February 11, 2007". Consumeraffairs.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "TEAC Members". Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- CCNE-Accredited Baccalaureate and Master's Nursing Degree Programs
- "Directory of CACREP Accredited Programs". Cacrep.org. January 1, 1980. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Howard, Jennifer (January 31, 2008). "''U. of Phoenix Basks in the Super Exposure the Super Bowl Brings'', The Chronicle of Higher Education, by GOLDIE BLUMENSTYK, August 28, 2008". Chronicle.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- http://www.sgh.waw.pl/bos/. "Why Recent Criticism of the University of Phoenix is Unjustified, Rhonda P. Urban, Ementor, ezine by Warsaw School of Economics". E-mentor.edu.pl. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "University of Phoenix 2007 Fact Book". Phoenix.edu. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "U. of Phoenix Says Test Scores Vindicate Its Academic Model, Chronicle of Higher Education, BLUMENSTYK June 13, 2008". Upxnewsroom.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- 2008 UPX Annual Academic Report[dead link]
- "University of Phoenix Ranks #1 in Graduating Master's Degree Students from Underrepresented Populations, Hispanic PR Wire". Hispanicprwire.com. July 18, 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Nealy, Michael (August 20, 2009). "Pride and Peril: Historically Black Colleges and Universities". Diverse – Issues in Higher Education. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
- "University of Phoenix Ranked Among the Best in Serving Military and Veteran Students, PR Newswire". Redorbit.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities". KMI Media Group and Military Advanced Education. 2008. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
- "Guide to Online Schools' 2012 Online Military-Friendly Rankings". Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- University of Phoenix Faculty Overview. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
- "Supporting E-Learning at the University of Phoenix" (PDF; requires Adobe Reader). Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "Howard Schmidt, Cybersecurity 'Czar': Who Is He?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- Adams, Marilyn (February 5, 2008). "Events, Drive Keep DOT Chief in the Spotlight". USA Today. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "Brad L. Dee". Utah House of Representatives. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
- United States Navy Biography U.S. Navy Web Site. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
- "Mayor Bill White Announces Police Chief Nominee". City of Houston. February 27, 2004. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
- "Christina Brown". MSNBC. 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
- The Big Executive? Shaq masters MBA MSNBC Web Site. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- "Sports of the Times; University Sells Itself During Playoffs" . The New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
- Los Angeles Sparks Lisa Leslie Receives her Masters at University of Phoenix WireImage Website. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
Further reading 
- Cuomo, Chris; Vlasto, Chris; Wagschal, Gerry; Pearle, Lauren; Andreadis, Cleopatra (August 19, 2010). "ABC News Investigates For-Profit Education: Recruiters at the University of Phoenix". ABC News. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: University of Phoenix|
- phoenix.edu, the institution's official website
- "College, Inc.", PBS Frontline documentary, May 4, 2010