September 24, 2021

Open Letter From the President of University of Phoenix

uop logoDear alumni and students,

Recent negative press stories gave voice to critics who questioned the quality of the education you received at University of Phoenix. I know your degree has value and you demonstrate that every day. After 16 years at the University of Michigan, I came to University of Phoenix as President last year to lead an institution that is uniquely positioned to help more working adults attain college degrees, rebuild and restore the American middle class, and change the lives of students, their families and future generations through higher education.

As I met University of Phoenix students, I quickly learned that not only were 76% of you working while earning your degrees, but you were raising families (67% of you have dependents at home). You are a diverse student body (45% underrepresented minorities, 19% military students, and 66% female), and you are true pioneers (60% first-generation college students), changing the trajectory of your families forever.

I know from conversations with many of you that much of your success is due to sheer determination, perseverance and hard work. You also told me of other reasons, including the University’s passionate practitioner faculty who work in the same industries in which you aspire to grow your careers, your dedicated advisors, 24/7 technical support teams, digital library and curriculum based on how adults learn.

New government data indicate that progress is being made by University of Phoenix and its graduates. The White House College Scorecard shows that among public and private universities with more than 15,000 students, University of Phoenix alumni median earnings are well above the national average (within the top 25 schools), and that the University’s tuition and fees are below the national average among private universities with more than 15,000 students. The University’s official three-year federal student loan cohort default rate is 13.5%, slightly above the national average of 11.8%.

My vision for University of Phoenix is to be recognized as the most trusted provider of career-relevant higher education for working adults. Dr. John Sperling, our founder, realized nearly 40 years ago that working adults needed a university tailored to their needs. He helped bring early innovations later adopted by traditional higher education, like hybrid learning and the ability to earn a degree online, because of the unprecedented access and opportunity they offered working adults. I am committed to carrying on that legacy.

The University’s recent graduation rates (41% for bachelor’s and 54% for master’s) are lower than some traditional universities. I know it is much harder to earn a degree while working and raising a family. I am proud of you, our alumni, and we at the University are committed to doing an even better job ensuring more of our current students join your ranks. I’m willing to work with all of you—along with our faculty and U.S. employers—to innovate and further enhance our focus on academic quality and career relevance to ensure that University of Phoenix continues to provide access to career-relevant, affordable higher education for working adults.

Thank you for serving as a living testament to the value of accessible higher education for diverse working adults and what this can do to change the lives of families and future generations in this country.

Signature of Timothy P. Slottow

Timothy P. Slottow
President | University of Phoenix

Link to Letter:

University of phoenix & nexus research first report on most efficient systems of higher education

Two years ago, the founders of the University of Phoenix announced plans that they were going to create an independent, nonpartisan research institute to examine significant educational issues affecting nontraditional students and for-profit higher education. Industry analysts, excited to get a peek into the loads of data that Phoenix and other proprietary institutions track about their students and teaching methods,were excited about the news.

The report, “For-Profit Colleges and Universities: America’s Least Cost and Most Efficient System of Higher Education,” lofts praises of the University of Phoenix and other for-profit colleges. It postures that many of the problems of the industry highlighted in Congressional hearings and flow of negative news accounts are not systemic, and also dishes an attack on traditional colleges as “studies in inefficiency.”

the full report is available here:

Apollo group’s position paper on Higher education

The Current State of Higher Education in America and the Vital Role of Proprietary Colleges and Universities

Gregory W. Cappelli Co-Chief Executive Officer of Apollo Group and Chairman of Apollo Global

America is at a crossroads with respect to how the nation’s higher education system will adapt to meet the needs of today’s learners.  

At Apollo Group, we are concerned that the country will not meet the national education goals set forth by President Obama without an adaptable postsecondary system that operates differently than it has in the past–a system that embraces diversity and innovation.

More Americans than ever need a college degree and are seeking access to higher education. 

Jobs today require higher education, yet out of 132 million people in the labor force, more than 80 million don’t have a bachelor’s degree, and 50 million adults have never even started college. These individuals are increasingly looking for ways to remain competitive and advance in their careers in today’s global economy.

Those seeking access to higher education are less prepared than in the past and require greater support.

High school dropout rates are now approximately 55% in many major cities like New York and Los Angeles. Even more concerning, many students who do graduate cannot perform at the twelfth grade level in reading or math.

Over 70% of today’s students are now categorized as “non-traditional” students.

Our colleges and universities must meet the needs of today’s learners who have families and professional obligations that make it incrementally challenging to pursue a college degree.

Traditional colleges and universities are the backbone of the U.S. higher education system, but they alone cannot meet the country’s needs.

This system, which is exclusive by design, was built to meet the needs of a different era when only a small portion of the nation’s workforce needed a college degree. Today’s globally competitive, knowledgebased economy requires a more broadly educated society.

President Obama has set forth three important goals for the U.S. higher education system which are critical to the country regaining its standing as a global leader in education.

 On a sobering note, we estimate that without proprietary schools, meeting these goals would cost U.S. taxpayers more than $800 billion over the next ten years.

Accredited, degree-granting proprietary institutions, which have been a strong source of innovation, play a critical role in the future of education.

These institutions provide access to students who previously have been left behind by or excluded from the traditional higher education system. Well managed proprietary institutions can meet the demand for education at a significantly lower cost to society.

Link to the complete white paper:[1].pdf