University of Phoenix’s Accreditation in Limbo as Panel Recommends Probation
The country’s biggest for-profit college, the University of Phoenix, may be placed on probation following the review of a regional accreditation panel, throwing the future of the school’s ability to collect federal student aide into question.
University of Phoenix, which serves over 300 thousand students in satellite institutions across the country, was deemed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to have “insufficient autonomy” from its corporate owner, the Apollo Group, which has full control over the university’s board.
The Apollo Group has countered the recommendation by stating that they will appeal the decision, and that the managerial relationship between the University of Phoenix and the Apollo Group was “customary,” and that the probation would inhibit their ability “to achieve the institution’s mission and successful operation.”
“We believe that it is neither remarkable nor improper for a parent corporation to exercise appropriate influence of its wholly-owned subsidiary,” said the Apollo Group in a statement.
The review panel’s findings have not been made public, and do not constitute formal probation. A final course of action will be decided upon in June by the Higher Learning Commission.
“In keeping with policy and practice, the commission will not speculate on possible outcomes of the evaluation,” said a commission spokesperson.
The University of Phoenix accounts for over 90% of the Apollo Groups Profits, and if probation becomes finalized, it will no longer be able to receive federal student aide, such as Pell grants and subsidized student loans, which in turn account for 83% of the University of Phoenix’s revenue, or roughly $3.2 billion.
For-profit colleges, and the University of Phoenix in particular, have recently come under fire from the Obama Administration, members of Congress, and state governments alike due to the high cost of tuition found in for-profit colleges coupled with low graduation rates and a growing number of students defaulting on their student loans, resulting in many lawmakers to issue a crackdown on for-profit universities using taxpayer money for monetary gain without adequately providing for the future of its students.
A report issued earlier this month found that 22% of students from for-profit institutions had defaulted on their student loans, a number nearly double that of public university students.