University of Phoenix Online Degrees
When I search online for a job, career training, or any related subject I always find advertisements for the University of Phoenix and its online degree programs. Is UoP a real college or a diploma mill? Will an online degree improve my odds of getting hired as much as a traditional degree earned in a classroom?
Is University of Phoenix For Real?
First, the University of Phoenix is definitely a "real" college. In fact, its total enrollment is second only to the State University of New York (SUNY), at over 412,000 undergraduates and 78,000 graduate students. While online courses are its bread-and-butter, UoP also has physical campuses in 40 of the United States and 200 campuses worldwide.
UoP is accredited regionally by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) as a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). It also has accreditation for many of its 100 specialty degree programs. But accreditation is not a guarantee that credits earned at one school are transferable to others, or that a degree from an accredited school is as good as any other degree.
Several things may make you wonder how academically rigorous a UoP degree program is. First, students spend only 20 to 24 hours with an instructor during each course, compared to 40 hours at a traditional university. Many colleges and employers are skeptical of UoP's academic rigor; one professor refers to its business degree as "MBA Lite." Even former UoP instructors complain the courses are too short to inculcate all the material covered by the curriculum.
Second, UoP is a for-profit higher education institution, and they don't have the greatest track record. While only 9% of college students attend for-profit colleges, they account for 44% of all student loan defaults.
Third, only 16% of UoP students graduate, compared to a 55% average nationwide. (UoP claims that the criteria used to calculate the graduation rate apply to only 7% of its "non-traditional" students and offers its own 59% graduation rate.)
Fourth, UoP relies on part-time instructors to an extraordinary degree, raising criticism about instructor quality and experience. Nationwide, about 47% of instructors are part-timers; at UoP, about 95% are.
Is a University of Phoenix Degree Worth The Price?
The University of Phoenix is owned by The Apollo Group, a publicly traded corporation. Like any such corporation, its first loyalty is to shareholders, not students. It is widely argued that UoP sacrifices academic quality to meet investors' demands for ever-higher profits.
Intel Corp. dropped UoP from its list of schools for which Intel employees could receive tuition reimbursement, saying the UoP lacked top-notch accreditation. Before enrolling in any continuing-education program, it's good idea to check with your employer to see if tuition reimbursement is available for that particular school and course.
In general, academic experts concur that for-profit colleges such as the University of Phoenix cost 4-5 times more per credit hour than non-profit (government subsidized) colleges, deliver less valuable education, and leave students with twice as much debt.
It's buyer beware, for sure! But then, an education is often what the student decides to make of it. And if an online degree is your only path to advancement, it may be worth a look. With eyes wide open, of course.
Have you had experience with UoP or another online college? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Mar 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- University of Phoenix Online Degrees (Posted: 18 Mar 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved