Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Whatever Happened To The University of Phoenix?

We see phenomena pop up, burn brightly and then disappear. People like to point to this in business and laugh over and the like, but those groups are memorable because of the lunacy involved. It is common to see giant phenoms explode in size, overreach, and then be sliced back in scale to a long term natural size. Capital demands it, so capital can skew institutions but also reveal their flaws.

Look at the fate of the University of Phoenix (UP). After taking the for-profit university model to a nationwide network that became an SNL punchline, UP's parent company saw the stock zoom to nearly triple digits. It now has gone private at a staggeringly low price of $10/share. Revenue is still a concern due to cratering student enrollment. The problem going forward is enrollment, but this did not purely go private due to a reorganization push.

When UP's parent firm went public, it was all fun and games as money poured in to catch that sweet secular boom in college enrollment. UP used a great valiant pitch to normies to justify its existence, "Using da Internetz to make college accessible for all" while behaving like a boiler room for real estate or penny stock sales. Their boiler room tactics were applied to potential students.

They compensated their enrollers on how many people they sucked into UP. Once enrolled, they would say how much a student qualified for loans without matching it up to what they actually needed for that semester or their course load. This was all just using the students as a conduit for UP to suck off the government teat. Walmart and McDonald's use the EBT underclass as nationwide conduit for a transfer of wealth. UP was doing the very same but with nondischargeable debt. It is far more devious than Walmart of MickeyDs because of this.

UP's trajectory actually revealed the con of all of education as it stands today. Criticism of UP was they were not totally honest with students about courses, about the education process, about debt and about their potential job prospects. These criticisms can be leveled at traditional universities but no one did so because the media-academia complex is a satanic union. One criticism of UP was that they did not care about graduation or completion rates. Check the graduation rates of community colleges, HBCUs and even second tier state schools. It's similar.

The problem for UP was that they threatened the traditional system, which right now outside of STEM is nothing but certificates to get white collar jobs. The good life as the Last Psych would put it was all college was resting its hat on, and that my friends is a slender reed. Whether UP was being devious or not, it was only a matter of time before the media would attack for-profit universities, for regulatory regimes to start pressing them and for universities to offer the same online experience, albeit at a much more expensive price tag.

This privatization is more to avoid the rules and regulations that come with being a publicly traded firm. It will also take the firm out of the media spotlight as well. As far as a turnaround, UP has already laid off half of its staff. Cost cutting has been going into effect already, so now it is adjusting the firm to a lower enrollment that is not reliant on getting the absolute fringe marginal student. UP will exist and continue but in a smaller form with less visibility. They need to retrench and forget that marginal student that is just the next body in the door.

They will leave that student to the government protected university cartel with its media salesmen. C'mon, don't be a loser, go to university. Don't you want the good life?


Anonymous said...

Speaking of TLP, (s)he - or an uncanny impersonator - is blogging again at

Son of Brock Landers said...

TLP was a man and if you can search well enough, you'll find out his ID

Anonymous said...

Out of courtesy and admiration I mirrored TLP's own caginess. Know the fate of the long-promised book on porn?

UP's maladies are somehow considered as evidence by my colleagues at a third-tier state university that our business model is fundamentally sound. Increasing debt to buy something of decreasing worth, yes, but at least our prices are lower. And football. How could it go wrong?

Dan Kurt said...

re: "Anonymous said...Speaking of TLP"

What are you talking about? What is TLP and what does it have to do with the University of Phoenix?

Dan Kurt

p.s. Went to the website "" and would love to read a short analysis of what it is all about.

Son of Brock Landers said...

TLP = The Last Psychiatrist

gabe said...

I went to the fully-accredited (regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission) for-profit University of Phoenix and I can honestly say I received an exemplary education and it was much better than any education at any not-for-profit state public universities I have attended. I learned amazing skills and consider myself a scholar who is published and notable in his field. The University of Phoenix curriculum was rigorous, meaningful, relevant, and applicable. Not all for-profit schools are "bad" and many schools are changing and adapting to the new rules, for the better! Oh, and let us not start a new form of discrimination where we discriminate against for-profit graduates. These are some of the hardest working Americans I know! Do not ever undermine anyone’s education. I love the University of Phoenix, enrolling students since 1976, and so do its 1,000,000 Alumni!! Surveys conducted suggested that 92% of alumni are satisfied with their education and outcome. Finally, DO NOT forget that the University of Phoenix educated the non-traditional students and I thank the University of Phoenix! The University filled a demand where “traditional” academia would NOT! Stop vilifying my school!

gabe said...

The University of Phoenix gave me an amazing education. I can honestly say I received an exemplary education and it was much better than any education at any not-for-profit state public universities I have attended. I learned amazing skills and consider myself a scholar who is published and notable in his field. The University of Phoenix’s curriculum was rigorous, meaningful, relevant, and immediately applicable. The University of Phoenix educated the non-traditional students, like myself, and I thank the University of Phoenix! The University filled a demand where “traditional” academia would NOT!

Anonymous said...

lol @ Gabe, the UP hasbara shows up!

But in total honesty there WAS a place for UP for a while. There was a wave of increasing certification-ing in the early/mid 2000's that swept many industries. Eg a physical therapist went from a 4 year degree to a doctorate as an industry standard in a roughly 3 year period. Nursing went from 2 year to 4 year degree as the industry standard. Teachers, in order to be "highly qualified", needed additional "training". So there was a few years where nurses etc that got caught on the wrong side of The Credentialing Bubble but had the work experience to not be awful would sign up for shammy "bridge" programs w UP. Everyone knew they were scams, but everyone also knew a phys therapist or teacher with a decade in the field didn't reaaaaaally need too much hand holding anyway, so they looked the other way.
Now, though, that moment has passed and anyone who was going to "bridge program" already did or left the field

Anonymous said...

I taught at a school with even less prestige than the University of Phoenix, ITT Tech.
It was the best part-time job I ever had. I really enjoyed it and became a very popular adjunct among the students. I was paid quite well. The only moral qualm that I had working there was the dubious conflating of the positions of admissions counselor and salesman. Young folks who didn't know better were given the hard sell. An ethical admissions counselor should be able to suggest another school for a particular student's situation.