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Title: Death of a Diploma Mill: University of Phoenix Going Down in Flames?
Source: The Daily Beast
URL Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articl ... html?via=mobile&source=twitter
Published: Aug 2, 2015
Author: Samantha Allen
Post Date: 2015-08-02 15:05:15 by Willie Green
Keywords: None
Views: 961
Comments: 9

The troubled online university might have finally been dealt dual deathblows as they announced an FTC investigation and a 54% drop in enrollment.

A phoenix is a bird that rises from the ashes, but the University of Phoenix is a diploma mill that may soon go down in flames.

On Wednesday, University of Phoenix’s parent company Apollo Education Group announced that the business and marketing practices of the for-profit school are now under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). CNNMoney reports that Apollo will “cooperate fully” with the FTC investigation, which requires them to provide the federal agency with documents on their finances, marketing, accreditation, and military recruitment practices from the last four years.

Apollo’s stock (APOL) predictably took a nosedive following the announcement.

For the University of Phoenix, which is the largest for-profit higher education institution in the U.S. with an emphasis on online programs, a federal investigation is the latest in a long series of disasters that could topple a once-thriving enterprise.

With this latest investigation, University of Phoenix is under particular scrutiny for recruiting veterans. The Associated Press reports that the school’s online program has collected over $488 million in tuition and fees from veterans, not including the hundreds of millions in GI Bill money that individual campuses have collected. Over the last several years, the school has come under fire for allegedly soaking up this GI money while leaving veterans strapped with debt.

New federal rules require schools with career-training programs to produce graduates who can repay their student loans in order to receive federal student aid. For a school that already has notoriously low graduation rates, this bar may be out of reach.

According to Department of Education data, the University of Phoenix online campus has a graduation rate of 7.3 percent and a loan default rate of 19 percent—5 percent higher than the national average. A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) claims that 24,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were enrolled in the online program last year.

Earlier this month, that CIR report prompted Senator Richard Durbin to ask the Department of Defense to investigate allegations pertaining to the school’s recruiting on military bases.

In response to Wednesday’s news of the FTC investigation, Durbin released a statement saying, “I wish I could say I am surprised by the news that the FTC is investigating the University of Phoenix for unfair and deceptive practices, but these allegations are all too familiar when it comes to the for-profit college industry.”

The investigation also comes after a long line of financial defeats for the for-profit school.

In 2012, University of Phoenix shuttered 115 of its physical locations and laid off over 4 percent of its staff. These closings came on the heels of a damning 2010 report by The Education Trust (PDF) that found the school had a six-year graduation rate of only 9 percent for students seeking a bachelor’s degree.

Student debt, on the other hand, seems to be a fairly reliable outcome for University of Phoenix students. In 2013, USA Today listed several of its campuses as “red flag” schools for posting graduation rates that were significantly lower than the rates of students defaulting on their loans—in Metro Detroit, for example, graduation rates were just 10 percent, but over 25 percent of students defaulted on their loans.

The school has also come under scrutiny for its enrollment of veterans in the past. Last July, the state of California asked the University of Phoenix to halt veteran enrollment in seven of its programs to prevent violations of the Veterans Affairs 85/15 rule, which requires that programs do not enroll more than 85 percent veterans. The rule is intended to prevent schools from exploiting federal aid for veterans.

This seemingly endless stream of bad news has taken its toll on the school’s bottom line: tuition. According to a CNNMoney report from March of this year, University of Phoenix enrollment has dropped from 460,000 students five years ago to 213,000—a precipitous 54 percent dip.

Apollo declined further comment to AP about the FTC investigation into the University of Phoenix and has not released further statements. The federal government, on the other hand, has already warned that other for-profit schools with poor performance numbers could be next.

In a July statement, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said: “The clock is ticking for bad actors in the career college industry to do right by students. We know many have taken steps to improve or to close programs that underperform, but we believe there is more work to be done across the board so students get what they pay for: solid preparation for a good job.”

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#1. To: Willie Green (#0) (Edited)

Diploma mill means they hand out diplomas for a fee. Phoenix was getting people to sign up and for expensive online courses and very few graduate or found that their diploma's are worthless if they did. So it's actually not a 'diploma mill' but it is a scam.

Pericles  posted on  2015-08-02   15:07:10 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Pericles (#1)

It's too bad that it's a scam, because they traditional universities themselves have turned into a bit of a scam themselves. Massive debt, completely out of proportion to what they deliver, because they can.

It would be wonderful to have a quality, accredited, affordable college program that employers accepted and respected. That can certainly be done. But the greed factor has just been too high for the actors who entered the market to really do it.

Vicomte13  posted on  2015-08-02   22:07:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Vicomte13 (#2)

It's too bad that it's a scam, because they traditional universities themselves have turned into a bit of a scam themselves. Massive debt, completely out of proportion to what they deliver, because they can.

I am just going by what I read - also I wanted to correct the use of "diploma mill" which used to mean (and I think still does) that diplomas were issued just for paying the registration fee. There was a big scandal in the 1990s if I recall that had people resign because they were found to have had diplomas from fake colleges or universities that just issued diplomas. Pheonix will issue a diploma but few seem to graduate and it costs a fortune and even after graduation few find utility in what they just learned.

Pericles  posted on  2015-08-03   9:26:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Pericles (#3)

It's too bad that it's a scam, because they traditional universities themselves have turned into a bit of a scam themselves. Massive debt, completely out of proportion to what they deliver, because they can.

I have taken classes from UoP and find that the courses are real, useful, and engaging. On the other hand, they also pack the courses with students that have little business being in a college classroom. Please note that I took mostly ground classes, and only a sprinkling of the other courses were "online".

Compared to traditional colleges, I challenge anyone to say that their courses were better or more insightful than UoP... UoP was at one time an accredited school that did graduate people with the degrees they went for. The lower level courses were about the same as other universities across the spectrum. The unfortunate circumstance is that they have the same practice that traditional colleges have - soak up federal grants and loans - but lack the financial backing from donors and Uncle Sam. I just believe they also sucked at recruiting students that mostly passed their courses.

Legitimate for-profits tend to go the way of the dodo once they find the numbers lacking and fluff it with more Uncle Sugar funds. State schools have the luxury of being "too big (ed) to fail".

TheFireBert  posted on  2015-08-03   12:00:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Willie Green (#0)

Yes sleazy recruitment going on at military installations.

I had several Soldiers going for their Masters from Phoenix. I advised them to shop for a different program and not just check the block for a degree.

After reviewing some of their papers for school work I advised a few to seek out additional undergraduate courses. Loads of pressure on NCOs to check the block on these degrees as it gives them promotion points.

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.---John 1:17

redleghunter  posted on  2015-08-03   12:15:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: redleghunter (#5)

Loads of pressure on NCOs to check the block on these degrees as it gives them promotion points.

They make it almost mandatory for promotion. Some of the units I dealt with placed priority with college degrees when deciding promotions. Kind of depressing when trying to cope with a crew chief that struts his "arts degree" around while directing a bunch of technicians.

TheFireBert  posted on  2015-08-03   12:40:51 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: redleghunter (#5)

I had several Soldiers going for their Masters from Phoenix. I advised them to shop for a different program and not just check the block for a degree.

IIRC we (AF) also had University of Maryland on base for classes, don't know if you Army guys did or not??

“Let me see which pig "DON'T" I want to vote for, the one with or without lipstick??" Hmmmmm...

CZ82  posted on  2015-08-03   15:24:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: TheFireBert (#6)

They make it almost mandatory for promotion. Some of the units I dealt with placed priority with college degrees when deciding promotions. Kind of depressing when trying to cope with a crew chief that struts his "arts degree" around while directing a bunch of technicians.

I know of several NCOs who spent so much time on earning a degree they failed to do the job they signed up for. Then they got promoted and expected to be treated as officers. The disappointing looks when you order them back to the motorpool to sweep and clean their areas after they released their soldiers for the day. Bet they missed that college course:)

I only got the "how dare you" look once. When one SFC complained to the Command Sergeant Major the BN XO made him actually clean his area, the CSM took him to the motorpool and found stuff I missed and made him stay longer:) The CSM was cool about it. Two weeks prior I had Battery commanders do the same thing. Word got out quick.

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.---John 1:17

redleghunter  posted on  2015-08-04   0:44:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: CZ82 (#7)

The U of MD is a good program. We did have that available and the local Central Texas College which is now part of Texas A&M. The A&M program was mostly in class education.

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.---John 1:17

redleghunter  posted on  2015-08-04   0:48:38 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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