University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix

Infobox University
name = University of Phoenix

motto = "Thinking Ahead"
established = 1976
type = Private, For-profit
president = Bill Pepicello
city = Phoenix
state = Arizona
country = USA
undergrad = 220,000+
postgrad = 60,000+
postgrad_label = graduate
staff = 12,000+
faculty = 20,000+
campus = Urban
free_label = Locations
free = 204 campuses & learning centerscite web |url= |title=UPX Campus Locations |accessdate=2008-05-03 |format= |work= ]
website = []
The University of Phoenix (UPX) is a for-profit educational institution that specializes in adult education. The largest private university in North America, it has an enrollment of more than 345,300 students. [ University of Phoenix provides growth opportunities for working adults] Lee Allen, Accessed 18 September, 2008] The school was founded in 1976 by Dr. John Sperling and is owned by the Apollo Group, Inc. The university has more than 200 campuses offering more than 100 degree programs at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels in various fields of study. [ University of Phoenix provides growth opportunities for working adults] Lee Allen, Accessed 18 September, 2008]


In the early 1970s, at San Jose State University in California, John Sperling and several associates conducted field-based research in adult education. The focus of the research was to explore teaching/learning systems for the delivery of educational programs and services to working adult students who wished to complete or further their education in ways that complemented both their experience and current professional responsibilities. At that time colleges and universities were organized primarily around serving the needs of the 18-22 year old undergraduate student given that the large majority of those enrolled were residential students of traditional college age, just out of high school. “According to Sperling, working adult students were often invisible on traditional campuses and treated as second-class citizens.” [ New Models For Higher Education: Creating an Adult-Centered Institution] Craig Swenson, Accessed 18 Sept, 2008]

With a first class of only eight students,Andrew Farrell [ Forbes (hosted on CBCNews), "The Web Billionaires", September 19, 2008] ] Sperling founded the university in 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona. [ New Models For Higher Education: Creating an Adult-Centered Institution] Craig Swenson, Accessed 18 Sept, 2008] In 1980, the school expanded to San Jose, California. By 1989, the university had become one of the first providing an online program for students. [ [ Telephony Online, "Desktop degrees, University of Phoenix takes education on-line", May 26, 1997] ]

University of Phoenix is a wholly owned subsidiary of Apollo Group, Inc. publicly traded on nasdaq|APOL and is a S&P 500 corporation based in Phoenix, Arizona. The school was the top recipient of federal assistance for the 2008 fiscal year, receiving over $2.8 billion in federal monies to fund student financial aid programs. [ [ Top 100 Recipients of Federal Assistance for FY 2008] ,, US government] The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona is a municipal sports arena, best known as the home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals and the site of the NCAA's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The University paid $154.5 million for 20 year naming rights for advertising purposes. [ "U. of Phoenix Basks in the Super Exposure the Super Bowl Brings", The Chronicle of Higher Education, by GOLDIE BLUMENSTYK, August 28, 2008.] ]

Note: University of Phoenix was once abbreviated as "UoP," but is now "UPX." [ [ Reuters, "Officers and Directors For Apollo Group Inc", Accessed July 18, 2008] ]


The university has campuses and learning centers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and the Netherlands. [ Apollo Group Enters Mexican Education Market] ] While the school specializes in online programs, the campuses offer additional programs and services. [ [ University of Phoenix fills online, campus classrooms] Bob Pepalis, Accessed 18 September, 2008] Online students are also able to utilize tutoring/social centers which can also be used for social and student learning interactions. The first center opened in 2007 in Plano, Tex. [ [ University of Phoenix Opens First Resource Center, Dallas Business Journal, July 19, 2007] ]

Academic Profile

The university offers several different programs of study, all administered through four colleges—the John Sperling School of Business and Technology, the Artemis School (administering art, education, and health fields), the School of Advanced Studies (overseeing doctoral programs), and Axia College (managing associate's degrees). [cite web |url= |title=University of Phoenix-Just the Facts |accessdate=2008-05-04 |format= |work= ] 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. [cite web |url= |title=UoP Online and Campus Programs |accessdate=2008-05-04 |format= |work= ]

Admission requirements differ by prospective degree and field of study; however, most require current full-time employment, a satisfactory TOEFL score, and a corresponding benchmark diploma or degree (GED needed to enter associate's and bachelor's degree programs, bachelor's degree needed to enter master's program, etc.). Specific programs may require certain GPAs, so many years of applicable work experience, and background tests and immunizations for on-campus study. [cite web |url= |title=UoP Admission Requirements |accessdate=2008-05-04 |format= |work= ] Undergraduate tuition averages $12,000 per year. [cite web |url= |title=UoP Fact Book |accessdate=2008-05-04 |format= |work= ]

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 teach one another by working on projects for four or five hours per week in what it calls “learning teams,” wherein students engage classmates in course material discussions. The abbreviated courses and the use of learning teams has caused concern among some academicians and former students. The course schedule is more convenient for professionals who can log on anytime. [ [] University Of Phoenix Opens Campus In Columbia] The university uses a standardized course format that does not allow individual faculty to choose the course materials. [ [ Student Catalogue] , University of Phoenix 2007 Student Catalogue]

Online Services and Education

Upon registering for a class, students pay a fee for access to online resources. This resource fee provides them full access to an electronic library, textbooks and other ancillary material required for the course. The university says that the electronic textbooks include search features and hyperlinks to glossary terms that make the books easier to use when working on research papers and other documents. [ [ E-Books Make Learning Cheaper Wendy Leonard, Accessed 09/11/08] ]

Jeff Silber, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, estimates that around 75 per cent of the school's students are enrolled in online courses of some form.

In 2008, the University of Phoenix was ranked #25 in the world for online degree programs by "OEDb". [cite web |url= |title=OEDb's Online College Rankings 2008 |accessdate=2008-05-04 |format= |work= ]


The University of Phoenix is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission as a member of the North Central Association. [ [] ] It also has accreditation for a variety of its specialty degree programs, including:

:Nursing Accreditation — The B.S. in Nursing and the M.S. in Nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). [ [ CCNE-Accredited Baccalaureate and Master's Nursing Degree Programs] ]

:Business Accreditation — All business programs from the Associate to the Doctoral levels have specialty accreditation through the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). [ [ Current ACBSP Educational Institution Members] ]

:Teacher Education Accreditation — The M.A. in Education degree program is preaccredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) for a period of five years, from December 20, 2007 to December 20, 2012. [ [ TEAC members by state] ]

:Counseling Accreditation — The M.S. in Counseling degree program in Community Counseling and the M.S. in Counseling degree program in Mental Health Counseling are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). [ [ Directory] ]


In May 2008, the school announced the formation of the University of Phoenix National Research Center. It is designed to study which teaching methods work best for nontraditional students. The development of the research center is under advisement by a board comprising a former dean of education at the University of Virginia; a consultant on learning and a former official with the College Board; and the president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. [ [ U. of Phoenix Draws Big Names to Advisory Panel on New Center on Teaching Adults] Chronicle of Higher Education 2008-05-27]



The average age of a University of Phoenix student is between 33 (undergraduate) and 36 (graduate), and most students have work related commitments. [ [ Why Recent Criticism of the University of Phoenix is Unjustified, Rhonda P. Urban] ] Additionally, nearly two-thirds of the University's students are women. The majority 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's degrees (28.1%). [ [ University of Phoenix 2007 Fact Book] ]


The University's faculty consists of approximately 1,500 core faculty and 20,000 associate faculty members. All have masters or doctorate degrees. [ "University of Phoenix Faculty Overview"] Accessed February 17, 2008] Approximately 95% of the school's faculty are part-time compared with an average of 47% across all universities.Sam Dillon, [ Troubles Grow for a University Built on Profits] , "The New York Times", February 11, 2007.] Pre-screened instructional candidates participate in a training program in the modality in which they teach, which has the effect of weeding out (40%-50%) of the less committed or capable applicants. [ [] ECAR Case Study 4]


The 2008 UPX Academic Report [ [ 2008 UPX Annual Academic Report] ] shows a highly diverse student and faculty makeup. According to demographic information in the report, on average the student/faculty population is significantly more diverse than that of most higher education institutions. African-Americans make up more than 15% of the university's 22,000 faculty members, with about 6% as Hispanic. The national average in recent years showed about 5% as African-American with about 3% as Hispanic. The student population is approximately 25% African-American and almost 13% Hispanic. This is as compared to national statistics from recent years showing 12% African-American populations and 10% Hispanics nationally. The university graduates a larger number of underrepresented students with master's degrees in business, health care and education than any other U.S. School. It is also ranked as the highest in graduating African American and American Indian students with master's degrees for all other disciplines. The underlying data for these conclusions was provided by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the '05-'06 academic year. [ [ University of Phoenix Ranks #1 in Graduating Master's Degree Students from Underrepresented Populations, Hispanic PR Wire] ]

Notable alumni

*Admiral Kirkland H. Donald: Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion and former Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet [ [ United States Navy Biography] US Navy Website, Accessed March 13, 2008 ]
*Mary Peters (politician): Current United States Secretary of Transportation. [ [ Events, drive keep DOT chief in the spotlight, USA Today website accessed February 12, 2008] ]
*Shaquille O’Neal: NBA basketball player [ [ The Big Executive? Shaq masters MBA] MSNBC Website, Accessed February 12, 2008 ]
*Howard Schmidt: Former Chief Security Strategist for the US CERT Partners Program for the National Cyber Security Division and current President and CEO of R & H Security Consulting LLC [ [, Howard Schmidt Biography, AEI Speakers Bureau Accessed February 12, 2008] ]


Quality of education

*There have been concerns that the school does not properly balance value to students and profits to shareholders, though the university claims that standardized testing in reading, writing, and mathematical skills for it's students shows that they improve at a better rate on average than for students at most other schools. [ U. of Phoenix Says Test Scores Vindicate Its Academic Model] , Chronicle of Higher Education, BLUMENSTYK June 13, 2008]
*By the United States Department of Education graduation standards the University of Phoenix rate is only 16%. Compared to the national average of 55% it is among the nation's lowest. The school and some education experts assert that the federal standard is antiquated because it only measures first time students with no previous college credit [ [ "Underserved Students Make Progress at For-profit Institutions"] Diverse; Issues in Higher Education, June 9, 2008] and uses measurements that skew against economically disadvantaged and minority students. [ [ "Distorted Statistics on Graduation Rates"] The Chronicle of Higher Education (reprinted at Susan, July 6, 2007, by Paul Attewell and David E. Lavin, professors of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.] The university response claims that the federal standard only applies to 7% of the total University of Phoenix student community [ [ National Association of Student Aid Administrators website, University of Phoenix Responds to New York Times Article] ] and publishes its own nonstandard graduation rate of 59% to account for its overwhelming population of non-traditional students.

Legal issues

*The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled a second sexual harassment claim against the school for $225,000 in August 2007. [ [ EEOC Settles Claim with University of Phoenix, Associated Press, August 29, 2007] ]
*In September 2004, the university paid a settlement of $9.8 million to the United States Department of Education for alleged violations of the Higher Education Act provisions which prohibit distributing financial incentives to admission representatives. [ "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] ] [ "U. of Phoenix Uses Pressure in Recruiting, Report Says - Institution disputes charges that it pumps up enrollment through illegal tactics", Chronicle of Higher Education, by Goldie Blumenstyk, October 8, 2004] ] [ [ US DOE Program Review Report] ] [ [ US DOE and U. of Phoenix Settlement Agreement] ]

*A 2003 federal whistle-blower/false claims lawsuit accuses the company of fraud in obtaining hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid. It is set for trial in September 2009. [,0,5667111.story?coll=la-home-local "University of Phoenix fraud case goes forward"] L.A. Times, August 21, 2007] [ [ List of Court Documents Related to False Claims Suit] ] Lisa M. Krieger [ Lawsuit: University of Phoenix breached ethics, laws, "San Jose Mercury ", Jun 23, 2007.] ] The school counters that the lawsuit is a legal manipulation by two former university employees over a matter previously resolved with the U.S. Department of Education. [ [ "United States of America ex rel. Hendow v. University of Phoenix"] Apollo Group Legal Information Center, accessed July 18, 2008]
*The university has had various labor and government regulatory related issues. It paid $3.5 million to settle alleged violation of overtime compensation provision with the Department of Labor. [ [ "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.] It is presently being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged religious discrimination favoring Mormon enrollment counselors. [ [ "Worker Bias Suit Targets University of Phoenix-School Favors Mormons, EEOC says"] September 28, 2006, by Dawn Gilbertson] It settled allegations by the United States Department of Education for $6 million in March 2000 because government auditors noted that the teaching schedule fell short of the minimum time required to qualify for financial aid.] The Business Journal of Phoenix, March 28, 2000] [ "Dealing in Diplomas, For the University of Phoenix, college is a big business - and getting bigger", The Dallas Morning News, February 28, 2004 by Katherine Yung] ] The United States Department of Education also ordered the university to pay $650,000 for failing to promptly refund loans and grants for students who withdrew.
*In January 2008, the university’s parent company, Apollo Group, Inc. was found guilty of fraud for misleading investors. [ [ Jury Finds U of Phoenix Parent Company Liable for $280 Million] Chronicle of Higher Education January 16, 2008] U.S. District Judge James Teilborg recently overturned the verdict, ruling that the evidence was not sufficient. [ [ Judge Overturns $280 Million Verdict Against the Apollo Group, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 5, 2008] ]


External links

* [ University of Phoenix Newsroom]
* [ University of Phoenix Library]
* [ University of Phoenix Official Website]

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