McPhoenix University by The Apollo Group

The University of Phoenix is one of the most unethical companies in corporate America, and that is saying something considering that ethics and business seem to be mutually incompatible these days. The University of Phoenix is an online university whose programs have been the subject of much ridicule over the past several years as the university has focused almost purely on enrolment numbers rather than educational delivery. This has led to the University of Phoenix being referred to as the McDonald’s of higher education and an internationally horrible reputation. Because the University of Phoenix is a for-profit institution, it is clear that the ultimate mandate is in generating profits rather than delivering quality education with lasting impact. That the university adheres to this mandate is evident by the number and type of lawsuits that have been filed by the university’s parent corporation, The Apollo Group, such as its recent settlement in which it paid 10s of millions of dollars in order to settle financial aid fraud issues with the Department of Education and the Justice Department. While the settlement allows the University of Phoenix to state that the settlement in no way implies that the company defrauded students and the government by compensating enrollment counselors on a performance basis, among other nefarious practices, no company pays millions of dollars just to placate a few disgruntled students and a government investigation. Simply put, while the University of Phoenix does allow students to obtain degrees, the quality of these degrees conferred by online universities that are purely for-profit enterprises begs the question, just where do students fit into the institutions’ profit equation? The Apollo Group derives the vast majority of its revenues from the U.S. Department of Education’s various financial aid programs and thus this is a company that depends on generating as much student churn as it can in order to constantly renew its revenue stream as students apply for and obtain financial aid and, conveniently enough, the majority of which is retained by the University of Phoenix as revenue.  Even from an investment perspective, The Apollo Group is suspect because of the way it books these revenues and its ongoing business practices.  The best advise if you have not yet succumbed to the University of Phoenix’ marketing efforts is to pursue your education with a local community college or university that offers a mix of online and on-ground classes. If you are a University of Phoenix student, the best advice is to withdraw and ensure that it does not attempt to bill you for unpaid tuition which it will most likely attempt to do.

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