1. The Apollo Group is the largest provider of higher education for adults seeking an associates’, bachelors’, or masters’ degree. The University of Phoenix has over 400,000 students enrolled in one of their many degree programs. The revenues of the Apollo Group have increased by $4.9 billion and its profits increased to $553 million since 1996. 2. The Apollo Group offers classes that are catered around the schedules of working adults. Classes are offered year round with minimal breaks between semesters. Most students take one class twice a week for five to six weeks in the evenings. Classes are also offered online for students who do not wish to participate in the traditional classroom learning environment.
Weaknesses: 1. Accreditation 2. Lack of Qualified Instructors
1. The University of Phoenix (UOP) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This accreditation is sufficient in most states, but some states require other accreditations from that particular state. The Bachelors’ and Masters’ programs in business offered by UOP are not accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The AACSB is the most highly recognized accreditation in the industry. By not receiving this accreditation, students who receive degrees from UOP may not be considered for positions in the business industry. 2. UOP utilizes facilitators to facilitate or lead seminar style classrooms. Most classes are comprised of 10-15 students and those students are broken up into groups of 5. Most assignments are group assignments. The class facilitator leads the discussions and guides the class through the curriculum. The facilitators are the instructors for the class. UOP does not hire or employ professors with Doctoral Degrees in order to keep their labor cost down. When a college does not employ doctoral level instructors the quality of education is impaired.
Opportunities: 1. Perceived as a low quality diploma mill. 2. Lack of doctoral staff
These two opportunities for the University of Phoenix are intertwined. The degree programs at UOP are viewed as low quality diploma mills because they do not employ a large number of doctoral level instructors on their campuses. The class room curriculum is developed by the class facilitators. Those facilitators are not considered qualified in the education arena to develop such curriculums for bachelor and master level degree programs. Therefore, UOP is viewed as a for profit educational college that enrolls students in a degree program that does not equip them to handle the challenges they will face in the real world. It is a weakness, because in some states the graduates will not considered for a position in their field of study because UOP is not accredited.
Threats: 1. Competition. 2. Regulatory Issues
1. UOP faces more competition now as more public and private sector universities are now offering adult degree programs and online educational opportunities. Those private and public colleges are accredited in the states in which they operate. UOP faces a decline in enrollment as a result of the public and private sector colleges entering into the adult education arena. 2. UOP has undergone several investigations into their enrollment practices. An enrollment counselor salary doubled based on the number of students he enrolled. The Senate Committee on Education’s investigation found that only 1% of students enrolled in for profit colleges actually received a degree. It also found that 85% had withdrawn and the dropout rate was 66%. The dropout rate was 55% at public college and 45% at private colleges. UOP revenue from federal dollars at the end of 2010 was 88% which is very close to the limit of 90%. When the limit is reached it will affect the enrollment of new students at UOP because federal dollars will no longer be available.
I recommend the Apollo Group work on receiving the proper accreditation is all states in which they operate campuses. They need to make the necessary arrangements to ensure when students graduate from their college that their degree will actually be worth something. I would hate to be the student who attended college for 4 years to be told I had a $60,000 piece of paper that meant absolutely nothing in the business world. If UOP is not accredited in those states by the required accreditation facility then UOP should inform the students prior to enrolling.