Probes and enrollment woes burn University of Phoenix

Gigi Douban Oct 22, 2015
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Probes and enrollment woes burn University of Phoenix

Gigi Douban Oct 22, 2015
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Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, releases its fourth quarter earnings Thursday.

The for-profit higher-ed company has been riddled with challenges in recent years. Most recently, the Department of Defense prohibited the university from recruiting on military bases.

The school hasn’t hit rock bottom, but it’s well on its way, according to Paul Fain, news editor at Inside Higher Ed. He said there are a couple of reasons for that. One: new players in the market.

“There’s lower cost providers, there’s nonprofit colleges like Southern New Hampshire and Liberty,” Fain said. “All of which are kind of nipping at Phoenix’s market share.”

Second, said Fain, Phoenix got way too big.

“You know they were huge; 475,000 students is absolutely gigantic,” he said.

Last year, enrollment dropped to less than half that. It may be more manageable. But, that’s also a big problem, said James A. Hyatt, associate director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

“If the enrollment’s down, the revenues will be down,” Hyatt said.

If that weren’t enough, the University of Phoenix is under investigation by federal and state governments. They’re looking into the school’s recruiting and business practices.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the Center for Studies in Higher Education. The text has been corrected.

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