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Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:00 AM

 

University of Phoenix’ plot to corner the cheap education market

The University of Phoenix played a key role in defeating legislation that would have allowed community colleges in Arizona to offer low-priced bachelor’s degree programs, interviews and state records show. The for-profit college, which is one of the state’s biggest employers, provided research and political muscle for a multi-year lobbying campaign against “community college baccalaureate degrees” – out of concern that those programs would undercut its business model.

For-profit schools and community colleges generally serve the same working, non-traditional student demographic, but tuition rates at community colleges are often much lower. Historically, community colleges have offered two-year associate’s degrees, with students then transferring to other schools to earn a bachelor’s degree – also known as a baccalaureate degree. Recent efforts by community colleges to offer their own baccalaureate degree programs have been controversial, in part because they dramatically expand the traditional mission of these schools.

But advocates say these programs – which typically require approval from state lawmakers – better respond to student and employer needs by providing affordable, career-oriented, four-year degrees...

The University of Phoenix’s lobbying effort against community colleges appears to conflict with the public image it promotes: a partner to community colleges and an advocate for working adult students. Indeed, the school is planning to launch more than 100 new partnerships with community colleges, which will funnel community college students into bachelor’s degree programs at the University of Phoenix...

http://www.salon.com/2012/12/09/university_of_phoenix_plot_to_corner_the_cheap_education_market/

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:09 AM

1. I think that is terrible

What is even worse, I looked at the list of members of the Independent Colleges and Universities in Arizona and the one I am getting my doctoral degree is on the list (it is not University of Phoenix, but it wouldn't be hard to figure out which one it is). I'm going to post this on their Facebook page and state that I very much disagree with them being apart of the ICUA.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:00 AM

2. A workaround - community colleges offer extra classes.

How this would work:

1) student goes through a 2 year degree.
2) once graduated student enrolls in a 4 year college.
3) student takes classes for bachelor's degree at the community college.
4) class credits transfer to this 4 year college.
5) student takes some courses by distance ed at 4 yr college.
6) student graduates from 4 year college with bachelor's.

Advantages are that community colleges are offering higher than associates degree classes @ a lower cost, with the 4 year college finishing up the final bits so the student ends up with a bachelors from a known university at near community college costs. Around these parts a lot of state universities offer "finish your degree" online classes at in-state rates, and if classes are missing they will accept substitute classes from a community college.

Disadvantages are that students don't have that one stop shop.

It already happens at high school level around here - gifted students enter an Early College program as part of High school and some classes they take are at freshman level. Means these students graduate high school and freshman year and tuition is in the cost of a public high school.

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Response to mwooldri (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:15 AM

3. Most 4 year colleges/universities won't accept more than 2 years of credit from a community college.

And that is reasonable, because community colleges don't usually offer upper level courses. Taking 4 years of lower level courses is not equivalent to taking 4 years of progressively more challenging courses.

But some community colleges are beginning to offer four year degrees in fields that are in high demand, like IT. The University of Phoenix is lobbying against that because they don't want the competition.

I'm proud of WA for moving ahead in the last several years in the direction that Arizona has just rejected -- due to U.P.'s self-serving lobbying. Our local community college now offers several 4 year degrees, including degrees in nursing and IT, and is planning more in the future.

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Response to mwooldri (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:00 AM

6. I think upper-level bachelor's degree courses at a CC can work because . . .

. . . the CC may be closely connected to the state university system. At least it is in Virginia, where I teach at a community college. The state college system, at least the best of it, is highly respected. The community college system has a guaranteed transfer agreement with every state-run college in the state. The University of Virginia has a program where students study at the community college and eventually get a UVa degree.

The community college is so big that it can offer a great variety of courses -- so why shouldn't some of them be at a higher level than traditional CC courses. For example, I took a CC course for professors in how to teach online.

Nothing wrong with community colleges expanding their mission, as long as they remain true to their original mission. I've seen lots of hard-working, motivated, intelligent students who, because of finances, a family situation, or simply their own poor record from high school (before they got motivated), could not have followed the direct high-school-to-college path. Community college gives them a chance. I'd hate to see this opportunity be lost.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:31 AM

4. They're not cornering the cheap market - they're killing it

 

U of P degrees are not cheap. And you can damn well bet they will have people paying through the nose.

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Response to michigandem58 (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:09 AM

9. easy access to student loans make it cheap -- for awhile. until it comes time to get the fancy

 

job the commercials promise and it's not forthcoming.

The less rigorous entrance requirements and the facilitation of student loans makes UP cheap for some students, often those less sophisticated about the educational system.

UP is also 'cheaper' in that you don't need to move to a physical campus -- you can live at home or in your present set-up.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:58 AM

5. I was always under the impression that U of P and the like were diploma mills

and that employers didn't look favorably upon them as degree issuing institutions. Is that not the reality?

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:07 AM

7. i think that is the basic reality, but it doesn't matter. The secret to UP's success is their lack

 

of rigorous entrance requirements combined with easy access to student loans and a limited understanding of the system on the part of some students (immigrants, first-gen college, etc) -- fostered by a lot of advertising that presents a student -- usually ethnic minority -- saying something like "I got this great education and now have this fantastic job, a nice car, I give my kids a good life & everyone looks up to me."

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 09:03 AM

15. Things have changed for all and most private and public

colleges and universities in the last twenty years.

As I mentioned down-thread, I am a UoP alum. I hold two graduate degrees that I completed with them in the 1990's. I hold a third one from an Ivy League and a doctorate from an excellent state university. At the time, my academic work was rigorous and was no hindrance whatsoever to my further studies or any jobs I sought including competitive internships while still work on my M.C. I also had no problem nor did any of my classmates in passing national licensing exams in our field.

So, no they are not technically a diploma mill, and HitPointDem and I have argued this in previous threads. The school is accredited and professional programs that require it, like the counseling one, hold national specialized accreditation, like CACREP for counseling.

The for-profit model has taken over institutions like these and states have cut funding to public institutions as well. Couple these points with the next banking bubble of student loans and now this mess truly exists. The standard of education continues to drop not only at the UoP but elsewhere. I have seen numerous young men and women who are attending ASU complain to me about the poor quality but high tuition classes they are taking.

Here is one excellent example: a young man wanted to explore a possible geology major. He had grown up south of Tucson in a mining community, spent two years at a community college, and finally transferred to ASU. His first geology course was online. Ok, not a big deal right? Well, the lab was online as well. His lab was looking at rock specimen photos while watching animations about how they were formed. He never once touched a rock specimen. He never had an instructor lecture on how these were formed. He got a low B on the final exam, and he decided geology was not for him.

I was pre-med at my undergraduate institution for my first two years, and I did not have one single lab science class that would have been this poorly taught or so thoroughly dumbed down. That geology course was a joke plain and simple.

This is education today at many schools and frankly I don't see it changing for the better any time soon.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:08 AM

8. I've been curious about the new Online U sensation - Empowered (by UCLA)

The stars they have making the pitch in the commerical are all A-listers. I wonder what the backstory is? I thought they might be allumni, but Gandolfini is a Rutgers grad.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:20 AM

10. IMO

The University of Phoenix is a rip-off, BS courses that most universities will not accept on you transcript, this is just a new scam targeting the middle class....SMH

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Response to Mr Dixon (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:36 AM

11. if you look at its advertising, the target is the working class, ethnics, and first-generation

 

Last edited Mon Dec 10, 2012, 08:35 AM - Edit history (1)

college entrants (people whose families don't have a history of college attendance, for example children of immigrants).

i'll add that this is a form of class, racial and ethnic discrimination every bit as pernicious as old-style jim crow

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:46 AM

12. "Troubles Grow for a University Built on Profits", 2007 NY Times article about the U of P...

Troubles Grow for a University Built on Profits

QUOTE:

PHOENIX — The University of Phoenix became the nation’s largest private university by delivering high profits to investors and a solid, albeit low-overhead, education to midcareer workers seeking college degrees.

But its reputation is fraying as prominent educators, students and some of its own former administrators say the relentless pressure for higher profits, at a university that gets more federal student financial aid than any other, has eroded academic quality.


As true today as it was in 2007.

Buyer beware!

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 08:46 AM

14. That quote is true.

Both of my degrees were very solid academically leading to both national licensure and further graduate work at an excellent doctoral program. But I finished both of my degrees before year 2000.

Sadly, it does seem much has changed and not for the better.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 08:41 AM

13. For-profit education is an anathema

in general to higher education.

As a UoP Alum, I am not surprised yet quite upset about this. Over 20 years ago when I did my MC and MBA, it was rather affordable and worked well for me as adult already working. I was on a graduate level and had no contact with the undergraduate side of things.

Blame needs to be spread all around on this one. Not only should we look at how the UoP is doing this but all of the ICUA institutions. Actually living in Arizona, I know that the majority Republican controlled legislature and our horrid governor have put profits and tax cuts ahead of education and medicaid funding now for almost four years. I am not surprised that the 'lobbying' paid off as this group sings one song - privatize, privatize, and privatize.

One solution would be to drop tuition rates at the state universities. This would allow community school two-year students to be funneled into those institutions as opposed to the for-profit ones. There could also be more aggressive partnering between community colleges and state schools like the ICUA institutions are implementing.

The problem is that state schools, while yes still cheaper than the private ones, have continued to raise their rates excessively as well over the years. With states cutting funds, like Arizona is doing, how do they afford the ASU basketball and UofA football franchises?

It is a sad mess.

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