Apollo Education Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Apollo Education Group, Inc.
IndustryFor-profit education
FounderJohn Sperling
HeadquartersPhoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Key people
Anthony W. Miller
Gregory W. Cappelli
Jeff Langenbach
Peter J. Cohen (President, University of Phoenix)
SubsidiariesApollo Global
BPP Holdings
College for Financial Planning
Institute for Professional Development
Meritus University
University for the Arts, Sciences, and Communication
Universidad Latinoamericana
University of Phoenix

Apollo Education Group, Inc. is an American corporation based in the South Phoenix area of Phoenix, Arizona, with an additional corporate office in Chicago, Illinois.[1]

The company owns and operates several higher-learning institutions, including the University of Phoenix, BPP Holdings in the United Kingdom, University for the Arts, Sciences, and Communication in Santiago, Chile, and Universidad Latinoamericana in Mexico.

On May 8, 2016, the company announced its sale to a group of private investors for $1.14 billion, effectively going private. On February 1, 2017, Apollo Education Group Inc announced the completion of its acquisition by a consortium of investors including The Vistria Group, LLC and funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC.[2]



Apollo Education Group, Inc. was founded in 1973 by John Sperling and John D. Murphy.[3]

Apollo Group as a Publicly Traded Corporation (1994–2016)[edit]

Corporate revenues for the year ending August 31, 2005 were $2.251 billion.[4]

In 2008, Apollo Group formed a joint venture with Carlyle Group, called Apollo Global, to make international acquisitions.[5] Apollo also purchased schools in Mexico and Chile[6]

As of 5 October 2011, Apollo Group had a market capitalization of $5.36 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.22.[7]

Declining revenues[edit]

The Apollo Group announced quarterly results on 30 June 2011. The company reported $1.45 in earnings per share for the previous quarter, exceeding the Thomson Reuters estimate of $1.33 by $0.12. Apollo Group's quarterly revenue was down 7.6% on a year-over-year basis.[8]

In March 2011 the Apollo Group sold its corporate headquarters in Arizona and leased it back in order to raise $170 million in cash. The deal with Cole Real Estate Investments included a 20-year lease requiring Apollo to remain in the complex.[9] "In our view, it does not change the view of the company. Apollo isn't hungry for cash: It carries little debt but generates $4 billion in revenue and has $650 million in net income and $1.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet", commented Peter Wahlstrom of Morningstar, an investment-research company.[10]

Revenue of the company continued to fall: in the fiscal year ending on August 31, 2011, the net revenue was $4.7 billion; in 2012, $4.2 billion; in 2013, $3.6 billion.[11] The operating income during this period fell from $956 million in 2011, to $676 million in 2012, to $427 million in 2013. The company attributed this to a decline in enrollment, with degreed enrollment declining from 380,000 in 2011, to 328,000 in 2012, to 269,000 in 2013.[12]

In 2015, co-founder John D. Murphy argued that Apollo Group "lost its direction when it abandoned its roots, which were serving working adults, not recent high school graduates."[3]

Asset under Apollo Global Management (2016–present)[edit]

On May 6, 2016, the shareholders of the company approved the sale of the firm for $1.14 billion to a group of private investors:[13] Najafi Companies, a Phoenix firm, the New York-based Apollo Global Management and, the Vistria Group of Chicago.[14] The offer amounted to $10 per share, compared to its high of $89/share in 2009. The delisting was completed on February 1, 2017.[2]

Anthony W. Miller is Apollo Education Group's chairman.[15]

Schools and subsidiaries[edit]

University of Phoenix[edit]

The University of Phoenix is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Apollo Education Group. The University of Phoenix is one of the largest higher education providers in North America.[16] The university has approximately 40 campuses and confers degrees in over 100 degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.[17] The University of Phoenix has an open enrollment admission policy only requiring a high-school diploma, GED, or an equivalent qualification.[18] The school 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.[19]

University of Phoenix students owe more than $35 billion in student loan debt, the most of any US college.[20] In 2014, University of Phoenix was highlighted in a Time.com article titled "The 5 Colleges That Leave the Most Students Crippled By Debt".[21]

Apollo Global (later known as Vanta Education)[edit]

Apollo Group formed Apollo Global to manage and form subsidiaries, assets, and holdings overseas. As part of their first acquisitions, Apollo Global acquired University for the Arts, Sciences, and Communication (UNIACC) in Chile as well as the now defunct Meritus University in Canada.[5][22]

Apollo Global is a joint venture between the Apollo Group and the Carlyle Group. The two partners invested $1 billion in Apollo Global. The Apollo Group invested roughly $801 million and owns 80.1% of the new company. Carlyle invested $199 million and controls the remaining shares. Apollo Global replaced Apollo International.[23][24]

Apollo Global changed its name to Vanta Education. Its current holdings are BPP, FAEL, Open Colleges, and ULA.[25]

BPP Holdings[edit]

BPP Holdings is a holding company of the United Kingdom-based provider of professional and academic education. The company is divided into BPP Learning Media, BPP Professional Education and BPP University. BPP University is a United Kingdom degree-awarding body with four schools: BPP Business School, BPP Law School, BPP School of Health and BPP School of Foundation and English Language Studies. Apollo Global acquired BPP Holdings (which includes BPP University) in the United Kingdom for $607 million in July 2009.[26]

Universidad Latinoamericana, Mexico[edit]

The Universidad Latinoamericana in Mexico was acquired by the Apollo Group in 2007.[27]

Faculdade Educacional da Lapa (FAEL)[edit]

Open Colleges, Australia[edit]

Open Colleges in Australia was acquired for a 70% share agreement by the Apollo Group in 2013.[28]

Bridge School of Management[edit]

Milpark Education[edit]

Apollo Group announced in August 2011 a $75 million deal to buy Carnegie Learning along with a separate agreement to acquire related technology from CMU for $21.5 million, to be paid over 10 years.[29]

Aptimus Marketing[edit]

In 2007, Apollo Group purchased Aptimus for $48 million.[30]

Aptimus is a full-service, in-house marketing agency for Apollo Group education institutions, including the University of Phoenix, Axia College, the Institute for Professional Development, Olympus High School, and Insight School.[31]

Orange Lutheran Online[edit]

Lutheran High School of Orange County (LHSOC) licenses its name to the Apollo Group to offer online courses.[32]

Sold or closed operations[edit]

Meritus University (closed 2011)[edit]

Apollo Group owned and operated Meritus University in Canada.[33] On January 24, 2011, citing how "enrollment will continue to be insufficient to sustain the required quality academic and student service infrastructure we and our students demand," Meritus University announced its closure, with their last classes taking place on March 14, 2011.[5]

Insight Schools (sold 2011)[edit]

Insight Schools is an online high school offering classes from 9th to 12th grade. Insight both ran high schools for school districts and operated online schools in several U.S. states.[34] Apollo Group acquired Insight Schools in 2007; in 2011 Apollo Group sold Insight Schools to Kaplan, Inc.[35]

The Iron Yard (closed 2017)[edit]

On June 11, 2015, Apollo Education Group acquired a 62% interest in TIY Academy, LLC ("The Iron Yard"), a provider of nondegree information technology bootcamp programs in the United States, for $15.9 million.[36] The Iron Yard subsidiary closed all campuses in 2017[37] and ceased operations early in 2018.[38]

College of Financial Planning (sold 2017)[edit]

The College of Financial Planning was sold to Kaplan in December 2017.[39]

Carnegie Learning (sold 2018)[edit]

Carnegie Learning Logo

Carnegie Learning is a publisher of math curricula for middle school, high school, and post-secondary students. The company uses a blended approach, with a textbook and software (called Cognitive Tutor) for each subject. The company also produces products for the homeschool and tutoring markets. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Learning was founded by cognitive science researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in conjunction with veteran mathematics teachers.

All of the Cognitive Tutor curricula are based on extensive scientific research from Carnegie Mellon University, along with field tests in schools throughout the United States. The Cognitive Tutors are based on the ACT-R theory of learning, memory and performance. The Tutors themselves were developed using an empirical testing process.[40]

Western International University (closed, 2019)[edit]

Western International University (West) was a university offering online programs for adult learners. Founded in 1978, West offers associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs to approximately 1,374 students (Fall 2014). West's mission is to provide a broad educational foundation, with a focus on business and technology, designed to prepare students for leadership positions in a dynamic, global marketplace. West is located in Tempe, Arizona and offers online education through its virtual campus. The university is currently in the process of closing, and is "teaching out" all current students.[41] The school will close during the early part of 2019.

Lawsuits and financial reporting[edit]

After a separate investigation in 2004, the Apollo Group paid about $10 million in fines to the U.S. Department of Education, which had criticised UoP's admissions practices: for example, recruiters were paid bonuses depending on the numbers they signed up.[42] "In 2004, a scathing report issued by the US Department of Education concluded that Phoenix, as The Chronicle of Higher Education put it, had a 'high-pressure sales culture' that intimidated recruiters who failed to meet targets and encouraged the enrollment of unqualified students—in short that it rewarded 'the recruiters who put the most "asses in classes"'. Apollo illegally withheld the report, but it was leaked and the group's value on the stock market crashed. A suit was brought alleging that its management had 'disseminated materially false and misleading financial statements in an effort to inflate its stock price and attract investors'."[43]

"In 2006, the company's controller and chief accounting officer resigned amid allegations that the books had been cooked; in 2007, the Nasdaq Listing and Hearing Review Council threatened to withdraw Apollo's listing from the stock exchange."[43]

In January 2008, the above stock-price suit was decided. Apollo was found liable for misleading investors by failing to disclose the Department of Education report that criticized the University of Phoenix's recruiting practices. The jury awarded the shareholders $280 million in damages.[44][43] The trial judge vacated the verdict and found for the defendants,[45] but the Ninth Circuit reinstated the verdict.[46][47] The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Apollo's appeal of the verdict.[48][49][43] The case ultimately resolved with Apollo being liable for $145 million; the reported $280 million figure may have been an error because the jury's award was for $5.55 per share.[50][51]

In November 2008, Apollo paid $1.89 million to settle a religious discrimination class action without admitting wrongdoing. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had brought the claim on behalf of non-Mormon employees of University of Phoenix Online. Under the settlement, University of Phoenix Online agreed to prohibit favoritism toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[52]

In July 2015, Apollo announced the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was investigating UoP for unfair business practices; "The company must hand over documents regarding matters that include its marketing, tuition, billing, accreditation, and military recruitment practices going back as far as 2011."[53] In January 2016, the FTC filed suit against Apollo and University of Phoenix.[54] The court ordered Apollo and UoP to comply with the FTC's civil investigative demands.[55]


  1. ^ http://www.apollo.edu/about/location.html
  2. ^ a b "Investor Consortium Completes Acquisition of Apollo Education Group Inc". February 1, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865627214/The-rise-and-fall-of-the-University-of-Phoenix.html
  4. ^ "Apollo Group 2005 annual report" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b c "News Release – Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Apollo Group Buys University in Chile". February 20, 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  7. ^ Staff (5 October 2011). "Apollo Group (APOL) Shares Upgraded to a "Outperform" Rating by Credit Suisse (CS) Analysts". American Banking and Market News.
  8. ^ Staff (8 July 2011). "Analysts Weekly Ratings Changes for Apollo Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL)". American Banking and Market News.
  9. ^ Jahna Berry and Ginger Rough (15 April 2011). "Apollo threatens to move workers". The Arizona Republic (Phoenix).
  10. ^ Jahna Berry and J. Craig Anderson (31 March 2011). "Apollo sells its corporate HQ, signs leaseback deal". Arizona Business Gazette. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  11. ^ "APOL – Aug 31 2013 – 10-K". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  12. ^ Goldie Blumenstyk, "Apollo Group Plans to Lay Off 500, as Does Education Management Corp." Chronicle of Higher Education Oct 23, 2013 [1].
  13. ^ Nick DeSantis "Shareholders Approve $1.14-Billion Sale of U. of Phoenix Parent" Chronicle of Higher Education May 6, 2016 [2] accessed May 13, 2016
  14. ^ R. J. Hansen "University of Phoenix investors OK sale to private backers" Arizona Republic May 9, 2014 [3] accessed May 13, 2016
  15. ^ http://www.apollo.edu/about/leadership.html
  16. ^ "Apollo Group 4Q Net Soars On Fewer Charges; Enrollment Falls". The Wall Street Journal. October 19, 2011. Archived from the original on October 22, 2011.
  17. ^ University of Phoenix provides growth opportunities for working adults Lee Allen. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
  18. ^ "University of Phoenix Admissions Profiles". Eduers.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
  19. ^ "Recognition of Prior Learning – Assessment – University of Phoenix". www.phoenix.edu.
  20. ^ https://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-colleges-where-students-owe-the-most-2015-09-11?page=2
  21. ^ http://money.com/money/3426618/student-loan-default-factories/
  22. ^ "News Release – Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  23. ^ "News Release – Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  24. ^ "Apollo Goes Global". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  25. ^ https://www.vantaeducation.com/about-us/our-history/
  26. ^ Ross Sorkin, Andrew (31 July 2009). "Apollo Pays $607 Million for BPP of London". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
  27. ^ "News Release – Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  28. ^ Apollo Global Agrees to Acquire Majority Interest in Open Colleges Australia
  29. ^ Kim Leonard (3 August 2011). "CMU software spinout acquired". Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
  30. ^ https://www.wired.com/2007/08/apollo-group-ac/
  31. ^ "News Release – Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  32. ^ Taylor, Dave. "University of Phoenix expands into religious teaching". intuitive.com/. Intuitive Systems. Archived from the original on 29 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  33. ^ "The New York Times – Search". topics.nytimes.com.
  34. ^ "News Release – Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  35. ^ Blumenstyk, Goldie (February 25, 2011). "U. of Phoenix Parent Company Sells Its Online High-School Business to Kaplan". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  36. ^ "07/08/2016 10-Q for APOLLO EDUCATION GROUP INC". www.sec.gov. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  37. ^ "Coding school giant Iron Yard announces closure of all campuses". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. July 20, 2017.
  38. ^ "The End of an Incredible Adventure with The Iron Yard". Eric Dodds. 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  39. ^ https://kaplan.com/release/kaplan-professional-education-acquire-college-financial-planning-apollo-education-group/
  40. ^ Koedinger, Kenneth R.; Corbett, Albert T.; Ritter, Steven; Shapiro, Lora J. (2000-06-22). "Carnegie Learning's Cognitive Tutor: Summary Research Results" (PDF). Carnegie Mellon University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-16. In this paper, we describe various evaluations that demonstrate the power of the Cognitive Tutor solution. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  41. ^ Wiles, R. (Mar. 10, 2017). "New Apollo Education Group owners closing Western International University", Phoenix: AZCentral.com. Accessed at: http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/2017/03/10/phoenix-new-apollo-education-group-owners-closing-western-international-university/99009362/
  42. ^ "Stefan Collini reviews 'Everything for Sale' by Roger Brown, with Helen Carasso and 'The Great University Gamble' by Andrew McGettigan · LRB 24 October 2013". London Review of Books. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  43. ^ a b c d "Howard Hotson · For-Profit Universities · LRB 2 June 2011". London Review of Books. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  44. ^ Jury Finds U of Phoenix Parent Company Liable for $280 Million Chronicle of Higher Education January 16, 2008
  45. ^ Judge James A. Teilborg, Order, page 10: "The evidence at trial was insufficient to support the jury's finding that the Flynn reports were corrective disclosures. Therefore, PABF failed to prove loss causation, and Apollo is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." http://securities.stanford.edu/filings-documents/1032/APOL04_01/200884_r02o_0402147.pdf
  46. ^ 23 June 2010, In re: Apollo Group Inc. Sercurities Litigation, Ninth Circuit, case 08-16971, http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/memoranda/2010/06/23/08-16971.pdf
  47. ^ Thom Weidlich and Emily Heller, "Apollo Group’s $277.5 Million Jury Loss Is Reinstated on Appeal", Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2010-06-23/apollo-group-s-277-5-million-jury-loss-reinstated-by-u-s-appeals-court
  48. ^ 10-649, https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/030711zor.pdf
  49. ^ Stohr, Greg (7 March 2011). "Apollo Group Rejected by High Court on $300 Million Award". Bloomberg.
  50. ^ Kevin LaCroix, 5 December 2011, "After Rare Trial and Lengthy Appeals, Apollo Group Securities Suit Finally Settles for $145 Million", http://www.dandodiary.com/2011/12/articles/securities-litigation/after-rare-trial-and-lengthy-appeals-apollo-group-securities-suit-finally-settles-for-145-million/
  51. ^ Stanford Law School, Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, http://securities.stanford.edu/filings-case.html?id=103281
  52. ^ Gilbertson, Dawn (November 5, 2008). "Religious bias lawsuit settled by Apollo Group". Arizona Republic. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  53. ^ Lobosco, Katie (29 July 2015). "University of Phoenix is the latest college under investigation". CNN Money. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  54. ^ Federal Trade Commission v. Apollo Education Group Incorporated and University of Phoenix, case number: 2:2016mc00002, filed January 12, 2016, Arizona District Court
  55. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-02-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]