Apollo Education Group

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This article is about the educational services company. For the private equity firm, see Apollo Management. For the group of near-earth asteroids, see List of Apollo asteroids.
Apollo Education Group, Inc.
S&P 400 Component
Industry For-profit education
Founded 1973
Founder John Sperling
Headquarters Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Key people
Peter Sperling
Gregory Cappelli
Mitch Bowling
Revenue Decrease $ 3.6 billion (FY 2013)[1]
Decrease $ 427 million (FY 2013)[1]
Decrease $ 249 million (FY 2013)[1]
Total assets Decrease $ 3.0 billion (FY 2013)[1]
Total equity Increase $ 1.1 billion (FY 2013)[1]
Number of employees
44,000 (part and full-time) (August 2013)[1]
Website www.apollo.edu

Apollo Education Group, Inc. is an S&P 400 corporation based in the South Phoenix area of Phoenix, Arizona. Apollo Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, owns several for-profit educational institutions.

The company owns and operates four higher-learning institutions: the University of Phoenix, Western International University, Axia College, and the College for Financial Planning. As of November 2013, the combined enrollment of all the universities was approximately 269,000 students.[1] Of these, nearly 90% attend the University of Phoenix, which Apollo describes as "the nation's largest regionally accredited private university".[2]

Additionally, Apollo Education Group, Inc. is the owner of BPP Holdings in the United Kingdom. It formed a joint venture with Carlyle Group, called Apollo Global, to make international acquisitions.[3] Apollo also purchased UNIACC college in Santiago, Chile, and ULA college in Mexico.[4]


Apollo Education Group, Inc. was founded in 1973 by John Sperling.[5]

Financial performance[edit]

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

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]

However, the revenue of the company continued to fall: in the fiscal year ending in August 31, 2011, the net revenue was $4.7 billion; in 2012, $4.2 billion; in 2013, $3.6 billion.[1] 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.[11]

Schools and subsidiaries[edit]

University of Phoenix[edit]

Main article: University of Phoenix

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.[12] The university has more than 200 campuses worldwide and confers degrees in over 100 degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.[13] The University of Phoenix has an open enrollment admission policy only requiring a high-school diploma, GED, or an equivalent qualification.[14] 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.[15]

According to USA Today, the University of Phoenix's Detroit campus has a graduation rate of 10%, but a student loan default rate of 26.4%.[16]

Western International University[edit]

Western International University (WIU) is a college for adult learners offering online and evening programs. Founded in 1978 in Phoenix, Arizona, WIU offers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees programs to approximately 3,200 students. WIU claims to provide a broad educational foundation, with a focus on business and technology, designed to prepare students for leadership positions in business. WIU has four campuses locations in the Phoenix area and offers online education through its virtual campus, WIU Interactive OnlineSM.[17]

Apollo Global[edit]

Apollo Group has formed Apollo Global to manage and form subsidiaries, assets, and holdings overseas. As part of their first acquisitions, Apollo Global acquired Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicacion 'UNIACC' in Chile as well as the now defunct Meritus University in Canada.[3][18]

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.[19][20]

BPP Holdings[edit]

Main articles: BPP Holdings and BPP University

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.[21]

Western International University, formerly a direct subsidiary of the Apollo Group was transferred to Apollo Global in April 2010. The Apollo Group says that the transfer of Western International University to Apollo Global would allow it to offer its degrees internationally on a more successful basis. The transfer included a capital contribution from Apollo Global's minority shareholder, the Carlyle Group.[17]

Meritus University[edit]

Main article: Meritus University

Apollo Group owned and operated Meritus University in Canada.[22] 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.[23]

Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicacion[edit]

University for the Arts, Sciences, and Communication, Chile.[24]

Universidad Latinoamericana, Mexico[edit]

The Universidad Latinoamericana in Mexico was acquired by the Apollo Group in 2007.[25]

Open Colleges, Australia[edit]

Main article: Open Colleges

Open Colleges in Australia was acquired for a 70% share agreement by the Apollo Group in 2013.[26]

Bridge School of Management[edit]

Milpark Education[edit]

Main article: Milpark Education

Carnegie Learning[edit]

Main article: Carnegie Learning
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, PA, 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.[27]

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.[28]

Insight Schools[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.[29] Apollo Group acquired Insight Schools in 2007; in 2011 Apollo Group sold Insight Schools to Kaplan, Inc. [30]

Aptimus Marketing[edit]

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]

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.[33] The report by the 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, the report concluded 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".

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; in 2008, a U.S. federal jury in Arizona found Apollo guilty of "knowingly and recklessly" misleading investors, and instructed the group to pay shareholders some $280 million in reparations. Apollo's appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on 8 March 2011.[34]

In January 2008, Apollo was found liable for misleading investors by not disclosing a Department of Education report critical of the University of Phoenix's recruitment practices. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $280 million.[35]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "APOL - Aug 31 2013 - 10-K". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Apollo Group Annual Report 2004
  3. ^ a b "News Release - Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Apollo Group Buys University in Chile". February 20, 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Apollo Group 2005 annual report
  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. ^ Goldie Blumenstyk, "Apollo Group Plans to Lay Off 500, as Does Education Management Corp." Chronicle of Higher Education Oct 23, 2013 [2].
  12. ^ "Apollo Group 4Q Net Soars On Fewer Charges; Enrollment Falls". The Wall Street Journal. October 19, 2011. [dead link]
  13. ^ University of Phoenix provides growth opportunities for working adults Lee Allen. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
  14. ^ "University of Phoenix Admissions Profiles". Eduers.com. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  15. ^ http://beta.phoenix.edu/admissions/prior_learning_assessment.html[dead link]
  16. ^ "College default rates higher than grad rates". USA Today. 2 July 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Apollo Global Expands University Network with Addition of Western International University" (Press release). Apollo Group. 19 April 2010. 
  18. ^ "News Release - Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  19. ^ "News Release - Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "Apollo Goes Global". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Ross Sorkin, Andrew (31 July 2009). "Apollo Pays $607 Million for BPP of London". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  22. ^ Apollo Group News - The New York Times
  23. ^ "News Release - Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  24. ^ Apollo Global Completes Acquisition of Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Coumnicacion 'UNIACC' [3]
  25. ^ "News Release - Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  26. ^ Apollo Global Agrees to Acquire Majority Interest in Open Colleges Australia
  27. ^ 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. In this paper, we describe various evaluations that demonstrate the power of the Cognitive Tutor solution. 
  28. ^ Kim Leonard (3 August 2011). "CMU software spinout acquired". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. 
  29. ^ "News Release - Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  30. ^ 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. 
  31. ^ "News Release - Apollo Group". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  32. ^ Taylor, Dave. "University of Phoenix expands into religious teaching". http://intuitive.com/. Intuitive Systems. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  33. ^ "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. 
  34. ^ "Howard Hotson · For-Profit Universities · LRB 2 June 2011". London Review of Books. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  35. ^ Jury Finds U of Phoenix Parent Company Liable for $280 Million Chronicle of Higher Education January 16, 2008

External links[edit]