How does the University of Phoenix measure up?

Tony Bates, Weblog, Jan 04, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The University of Phoenix made $1.04 billion profit in 2009. That's not a typo. From a business perspective, its educational outputs are irrelevant (after all, it made $1.04 billion profit in 2009), but Tony Bates looks at them anyway. From one perspective, there's no question that the University of Phoenix is making an extra effort to serve students denied access to higher education. It also seems to be providing them with an education. In major assessments or evaluations, University of Phoenix fare as well as their more traditional counterparts. But, notes Bates, only 34% graduate within six years, compared with 53% nationally. So he gives the institution a C-. Which is, to me, a bit unfair, when you consider that someone spending even half time would take 8 years to finish a four-year degree. And, moreover, I question the model that seeks to cram all your learning up front in a four-year frenzy, rather than blending formal learning with real life. This is not to give the University of Phoenix a free ride, only to level fair criticism.
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