Is Axia America’s National Community College?

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University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix has been offering degrees, mostly online, to tens of thousands of students across the country, even from around the world for many years now. The school’s success can be attributed to its cutting edge business model which makes learning something that students can do on their own time. Hundreds of thousands of Phoenix grads have college degrees today who probably wouldn’t have one otherwise.

Axia College got its start in 2004 by the Apollo Group, the same business which owns the University of Phoenix. Axia is in fact, a part of the University of Phoenix, but it serves a different type of student — the one with little or no college experience, the person who is most likely to attend a community college.

Inside Higher Ed recently published an article, “A National Community College?,” to describe the Axia program. Only associates degrees are offered at the school, putting it into direct competition with government-funded community and technical colleges around the nation. Last year, the school issued more than 13,000 associates degrees and currently boasts more than 100,000 students in their program.

Unlike its parent school, Axia College students follow a schedule which requires them to take two classes at a time in each nine-week block. And, unlike the typical community college student, most Axia enrollees are older. The University of Phoenix is geared toward white collar workers who are looking to complete their degrees or obtain advanced degrees, while the atypical Axia student usually has less than 15 credits to transfer to the school’s program.

But, what Axia does have in common with our nation’s community colleges is its appeal to students who are usually under served in higher education, students who might otherwise not attend college or who could use some extra “hand holding” as they prepare to transfer to a college offering four-year degrees. In Axia’s case, the University of Phoenix hopes students will continue on with their studies with them, but that isn’t a requirement.

Perhaps the most striking contrast between traditional community colleges and Axia College is education costs. Credits and fees average $98 at government schools while Axia charges more than three times that amount, $325 per credit most recently. The higher cost isn’t hurting Axia, however, as the school’s enrollment numbers continue to surge; the school’s compressed learning schedule apparently is a big draw, something students appear to value more than value in education.

Further Reading

Advancing Your Education Through Online Study

A Growing Trend: No More College Entrance Exams

Establish a College Budget

University of Phoenix Owners Must Pay Damages

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