history, campuses, Academics & Accreditation university of phoenix

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history, campuses, Academics & Accreditation university of phoenix


The university was founded by John Sperling. Started in 1976, 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. According to Senator Tom Harkin, who chaired hearings on for-profit colleges, "I think what really turned this company is when they started going to Wall Street," he says. "[They] started raising hedge fund money, and then they had to meet quarterly reports, and all they were interested in, basically, was 'How much money ya makin'?

Between 2010 and 2016, enrollment declined more than 70 percent amid multiple investigations, lawsuits and controversies.In February, 2016 the Apollo Group announced it will be sold to a private investment group, made up of the Najafi Companies, Apollo Global  Management and the Vistria Group, for $1 billion.

Former U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Anthony W. Miller, partner and chief operating officer of Vistria, will become chairman. The sale will have to be approved by both the U.S. Department of Education and the accreditation group the Higher Learning Commission in order to go forward.


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. In 2016 the University of Phoenix indicated plans to shrink from 91 campuses and learning centers to 67


The university offers degree programs through the following schools and colleges:

    School of Advanced Studies
    School of Business
    College of Security and Criminal Justice
    College of Education
    College of Humanities and Sciences
    College of Information Systems and Technology
    College of Social Sciences
    College of Health Professions
    School of Nursing
    School of Health Services Administration

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

Corporate training

The university runs a program called "corporate articulation agreements" that allows people who work at some companies to earn college credit for the training they have completed at their jobs. As of December 2015, the university had agreements in place with around 300 companies.

To qualify for college credit, students can either create a professional training portfolio or write an "experiential essay". A professional training portfolio is a collection of documents such as transcripts from other schools, certificates, licenses, workshops or seminars.
Admissions and financial aid

The University of Phoenix has an open admissions policy. 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, including making claims that classes were filling fast, 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 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.

USA Today has listed University of Phoenix as a "red flag" institution for posting a student loan default rate (26%) that surpassed its graduation rate (17%). A 2010 report found that the University of Phoenix's online graduation rate was only 5 percent.

According to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, the University of Phoenix's average annual cost was $14,166 (about average). The average graduate earned $53,000 a year (above average). The institution's graduation rate was 20% (significantly below average). While the average graduate may earn above average, it must be taken into account that the target audience is mainly working adults who are already financially independent. "Phoenix targets non-traditional students that are not between the age of 18 and 24, not living on campus and are not supported by parents."


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. In July 2015, the Higher Learning Commission removed University of Phoenix from Notice Status.

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.

    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).

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