Is the University of Phoenix a Rip Off?


With more than 400,000 actively enrolled students, the State University of New York is the nation’s largest university system, beating out California State University by a few thousand students. Each school has multiple campuses and both schools’ reach extends to students far afield thanks to the internet.

There is one university whose student base is primarily online, although they do offer some campus courses. That would be the University of Phoenix, a for-profit school founded in 1976 with approximately 250,000 actively enrolled students. Not without controversy, U of P as some call the school, has been criticized for offering a substandard education by some and is considered over-priced by others.

SayCampusLife tracks a variety of on-campus and distance learning options and we’re eager to hear what you have to say about this school and what they have to offer. In the meantime, if you are considering enrolling, maybe taking a look at some of the claims will cause you to examine the issue first. I’m not telling you to avoid U of P, but if there are some questions about their program, then you need to uncover those answers for yourself.

Claim: The University of Phoenix is a for-profit school.
Fact: This is a true statement. Owned by the Apollo Group, the company also owns Western International University, the Institute for Professional Development, and the College for Financial Planning.

Claim: The school is not accredited.
Fact: Actually, the school is accredited by the Higher Learning Association and the North Central Association. Various programs, including Nursing, have received specific accreditation as well.

Claim: The university’s faculty is not qualified to teach.
Fact: As the school must comply with accreditation requirements, faculty must also be qualified accordingly. The school does recruit openly for new staff and there are more than 8000 faculty members according to the school. Just for kicks, I filled out a form on the U of P site to apply for teaching but was immediately rejected because I do not have a Master’s degree. Of course, having a Master’s degree doesn’t mean you have the skills to teach.

Claim: The school charges an exorbitant amount of money for tuition and fees.
Fact: Specific figures are not posted online, but I have heard that costs for the university are high. U of P accepts Stafford loans and students can finance their education through private student loans, military assistance, through your employer’s tuition reimbursement plan, and cash payments. The school does have a Grants program and students can apply for a scholarship which could be used to cover some of their expenses.

Claim: Phoenix grads earn less money than grads receiving comparable degrees from other universities.
Fact: I haven’t seen a survey detailing as much, so I question this sort of allegation. There are websites which allege various things about U of P, but substantiating these claims is something different. I will say this: will a degree from Phoenix be as well received as a degree from a known, local university? I suppose only your employer can tell you that!

I soft pedaled this article simply to encourage people to respond with their comments no matter whether they are good, bad or ugly. Keep it civil and your comment will be approved, otherwise don’t bother — we’re not in the habit of promoting unsubstantiated allegations!


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