University of Phoenix
(a wholly owned subsidiary of Apollo Group Inc.)
|Location||Phoenix (headquarters), Arizona, United States|
|Campus locations||112 campuses and learning centers, online|
The University of Phoenix (UOPX) is an American for-profit institution of higher learning, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. The university has an open-enrollment admission policy, requiring a high-school diploma, GED, or its equivalent as its criterion for admissions. The university has 112 campuses worldwide and confers degrees in over 100 degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Apollo Group Inc., a publicly traded (NASDAQ: APOL) Phoenix-based corporation that owns several for-profit educational institutions.
The University of Phoenix attained a peak enrollment of almost 600,000 students in 2010, but its numbers have declined to 227,000 as of 2015. The enrollment drop (and more than 100 campus closings) have been attributed to operational changes amid criticism of high debt loads and low job prospects for students of for-profit colleges.
- History 1
- Campuses 2
- Admissions and financial aid 3.1
- Accreditation 3.2
- Organization and administration 4
- Marketing and advertising 5
- Political and corporate alliances 6
- Controversies 7
- Governmental lawsuits and investigations 8
- Students 9.1
- Faculty 9.2
- Alumni 9.3
- See also 10
- References 11
- Further reading 12
- External links 13
The university was founded by John Sperling. 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.
In 1994, University of Phoenix leaders made the decision to take the parent company, Apollo Group public. Capital from Wall Street launched the school. Phoenix had more than 100,000 students within the first five years of going public. Growth in the company made John Sperling a billionaire.
From 2010 until 2012 enrollment declined, reportedly from growth of competition and negative press.
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.
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.
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- "Timothy Slottow, President, University of Phoenix". phoenix.edu.
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- McEvoy, Ciaran. "Enrollment Declines Equal Bad Fiscal Q1 For Apollo Education APOL – Investors.com". Investor's Business Daily.
- "Apollo Group 4Q Net Soars on Fewer Charges; Enrollment Falls".
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- Swenson, Craig. "New Models for Higher Education: Creating an Adult-Centered Institution" (PDF format). Retrieved September 18, 2008.
- Andrew Farrell , September 19, 2008The Web BillionairesForbes (hosted on CBCNews),
- , May 26, 1997"Desktop degrees, University of Phoenix takes education on-line"Telephony Online, . Telephonyonline.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
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- Caleb Melby. "John Sperling – In Photos: Gangsters, Games and Gold: Billionaire Drop-Offs 2013". Forbes.
- 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".
- Leonard, Wendy (August 25, 2008). "E-Books Make Learning Cheaper – They're Popular with University of Phoenix Faculty, Students".
- "Just the Facts". University of Phoenix. Retrieved January 8, 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.
- Yung, Katherine (February 28, 2004). "Dealing in Diplomas, For the University of Phoenix, College Is a Big Business – And Getting Bigger". The Dallas Morning News.
- Dillon, Sam (February 11, 2007). "Troubles Grow for a University Built on Profits". The New York Times, February 11, 2007.
- Katherine Mangu-Ward, Katherine (July 2008). "Education for Profit – Why Is Everyone Flaming the University of Phoenix?".
- "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
- Blumenstyk, Goldie (October 8, 2004). "U. of Phoenix Uses Pressure in Recruiting, Report Says – Archives – The Chronicle of Higher Education". Chronicle.com. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
- "Changes to enrollment-recruiting-practices – ". Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- "Federal Financial Aid Plan – University of Phoenix". Phoenix.edu. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
- "New Default Rate Data for Federal Student Loans: 44% of Defaulters Attended For-Profit Institutions".
- Marklein, Mary Beth (Jul 2, 2013). "College default rates higher than grad rates". USA Toaday. Retrieved Apr 27, 2015.
- Lewin, Tamar (November 23, 2010). "Report Finds Low Graduation Rates at For-Profit Colleges". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- "University of Phoenix Online Campus – Tuition, Cost, and Price to Attend". Collegecalc.org. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- Gonzales, Angela (February 25, 2013). "Senior Reporter". Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- "SEC Filings | Apollo Group". Investors.apollo.edu. May 13, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
- Kirkham, Chris (February 25, 2013). "University of Phoenix Accreditation Hits Snag As Panel Recommends Probation".
- "Apollo rises as Phoenix accreditation is renewed – Yahoo Finance". Finance.yahoo.com. July 10, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
- "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.
- , ConsumerAffairs.com, by Truman Lewis, February 11, 2007"University of Phoenix Staggers Under Growing Criticism". 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" (PDF). Cacrep.org. January 1, 1980. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- "University of Phoenix Maxing Out on Defaults". Bank Talk. April 27, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
- "Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing – Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing". Bobjohnsonblog.com. January 11, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
- Howard, Jennifer (January 31, 2008). , The Chronicle of Higher Education, by GOLDIE BLUMENSTYK, August 28, 2008"U. of Phoenix Basks in the Super Exposure the Super Bowl Brings". Chronicle.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "Margaret Spellings Joins Apollo Group Board of Directors". Reuters.
- "Apollo hires Jane Oates, former Labor Department official @insidehighered". insidehighered.com.
- Mettler, Suzanne (2010). Degrees of Inequality: Culture, Class, and Gender in American Higher Education. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Msnbc Info (March 8, 2015). "Msnbc Info – al-sharpton". msnbc.
- "University of Phoenix". api.org.
- "University_of_Phoenix". Bgca.org. Retrieved 2015-06-06.
- Zucchino, David; Rivera, Carla (July 16, 2012). "Anger grows over GI Bill profiteers – Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- "For-profit education industry preys on returning US veterans". .wsws.org. July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- "David Perry interviews John Murphy, co-founder of the University of Phoenix". YouTube. November 13, 2013.
- "Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Policy Sabotaged the American Dream – CornellCast". cornell.edu.
- "Stealing America's Future: How For-Profit Colleges Scam Taxpayers and Ruin Students' Lives – Kindle edition by David Halperin. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.". amazon.com.
- "Who's really benefiting from the GI Bill?". PBS NewsHour.
- "College Results Online". collegeresults.org.
- Lewin, Tamar (August 9, 2011). "Education Management Corporation Accused of Widespread Fraud". The New York Times.
- "University's Owner Settles Federal Dispute Over Student Aid".
- "United States of America ex rel. Hendow v. University of Phoenix, Second Amended Complaint" (PDF). Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "List of Court Documents Related to False Claims Suit". Kroplaw.com. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
- 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".
- "US DOE Program Review Report" (PDF). Retrieved March 21, 2014.
- 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).
- 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, Usaspending.gov, US government
- "Apollo Repaid Education Aid Late, Gave Lax Counseling".
- Lauerman, John (August 4, 2010). "For-Profit Colleges Misled Students, Witnesses Say". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Bloomberg August 4, 2010 article.
- Lauerman, John (April 2, 2014). "Apollo Falls as Education Department Demands Records".
- "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" (PDF). Upxnewsroom.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "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.
- Jennifer H. Svan. "DOD renews contracts with four schools, drops University of Phoenix – News". Stripes. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
- University of Phoenix Faculty Overview. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
- "Supporting E-Learning at the University of Phoenix" (PDF). Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "Faculty". phoenix.edu.
- "Search Results". Adjunct Project.
- "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".
- "Brad L. Dee".
- United States Navy Biography U.S. Navy Web Site. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
- "Mayor Bill White Announces Police Chief Nominee".
- "Christina Brown".
- The Big Executive? Shaq masters MBA MSNBC Web Site. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Los Angeles Sparks Lisa Leslie Receives her Masters at University of Phoenix WireImage Website. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
- "Michael Russell completes undergrad program from University of Phoenix". Tennisworldusa.org. January 15, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
Athletes who have earned degrees from the university include four-time NBA Championship-winner Shaquille O'Neal ('05), three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, and professional tennis player Michael Russell ('12).
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.
As of March 2010, 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).
Adjuncts make approximately $1000–$2000 per course 
African-Americans make up 18.6 percent of the university's 22,000 faculty members, and 5.6 percent are Latino  Women make up 57% of the faculty.
According to a university officer, pre-screened instructional candidates participate in a training program in the discipline in which they teach, which has the effect of weeding out 40 percent to 50 percent of the "less-committed" or -capable applicants.
UoP depends heavily on contingent faculty: 95 percent of Phoenix instructors teach part-time, compared to an average of 47 percent nationwide – . This reliance on part-time faculty has been criticized by regulators and academic critics. Most of the classes are centrally crafted and standardized to ensure consistency and to maximize profits. Additionally, no faculty members get tenure.
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.
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 its own graduation rate of 59 percent to account for its large population of non-traditional students.
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.
In 2013, the US Department of Defense ended its contract with University of Phoenix for military bases in Europe.
The university graduates the largest number of underrepresented students with master's degrees in business, health care, and education of any U.S. school.
The average age of a University of Phoenix undergraduate student is 33. The average graduate student is 36. 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 degrees (28.1%).
In 2014 the US Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General demanded records from the University of Phoenix and its parent company Apollo Group going back to 2007 "related to marketing, recruitment, enrollment, financial aid, fraud prevention, [and] student retention."
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.
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. 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.
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.
The university has paid several government fines and settled whistle-blower lawsuits concerning its admissions practices and education programs. In 2000, the federal government fined the university $6 million for including study-group meetings as instructional hours. In 2002, the Department of Education relaxed requirements on instructional hours.
Governmental lawsuits and investigations
The University of Phoenix has been designated as a "dropout factory" by The Education Trust
Reporter Aaron Glantz with the Center for Investigative Research has written about University of Phoenix's exploitation of veterans.
A co-founder of University of Phoenix, John D. Murphy, wrote in Mission Forsaken (2013) about the school's devolution from a provider of working adult continuing education programs into a money making machine whose sole criteria for admission was eligibility for federally funded student loans . University of Phoenix was also frequently mentioned in Suzanne Mettler's "Degrees of Inequality" and David Halperin's "Stealing America's Future: How For-Profit Colleges Scam Taxpayers and Ruin Students' Lives."
Some critics have referred to Apollo Group and University of Phoenix as criminal enterprises that prey upon veterans, women, people of color, and socially isolated individuals.
University of Phoenix has also had alliances with The American Petroleum Institute  and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In November 2014, University of Phoenix partnered with 47 historically black colleges and universities to offer UoP classes that transfer to these institutions. 
Several American policymakers have been affiliated with the University of Phoenix and its parent company, US Department of Education, Margaret Spellings, has been a member of the Apollo Group Board of Directors. Jane Oates, a former staffer for Senator Ted Kennedy and Department of Labor official in the is currently a vice president at Apollo Group. US Representative Nancy Pelosi's close friendship with University of Phoenix founder John Sperling has been documented by Suzanne Mettler in her book Degrees of Inequality. National Action Network's civil rights leader Al Sharpton has also been linked to University of Phoenix, as the sponsor of Education Nation on MSNBC.
Political and corporate alliances
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.
Apollo Group, University of Phoenix's parent company, spends between $376 million and $655 million per year on advertising and marketing, which includes the University of Phoenix brand. Much of this advertising is Internet advertising.
Marketing and advertising
Organization and administration
- 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 – The Master of Science in Counseling program in Community Counseling (Phoenix and Tucson campuses ONLY), the Master of Science in Counseling program in Mental Health Counseling (Utah campuses ONLY), and the Master of Science in Counseling program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (Phoenix and Tucson campuses ONLY) are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
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.
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. On July 10, 2013 Apollo Group Inc. announced that HLC renewed University of Phoenix accreditation through 2023 and placed it on "notice" for two-years.