The University of Phoenix. Can this online college be for real?

April 9, 2012


“I am a Phoenix!”

When I first saw commercials for the University of Phoenix I was duped into thinking it was for a college in Phoenix, Arizona. Silly me. According to its website, The University of Phoenix is the invention of one Dr. John Sperling (whomever that is) who is also the founder of the Apollo Group (whatever that is). In 1976, Sperling created the school for “working adults” so that they might have an opportunity for “higher learning.” In 1995, he received “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the state of Arizona. Okay…

I see advertising for the U of P all the time. Clearly, they have a lot of money for marketing. Therefore, they must make a lot of money. Therefore, they must be a success. The latest spot features the Police Chief of Cincinnati. “I am a Phoenix,” he states into the camera. He’s real. I Googled him. But is the college?

I don’t wonder that anyone can take college classes online; seems an obvious place for a racket like adult education. Yet, how can it possibly work? I mean really. I can’t imagine a working mother coming home from her shift at the hospital, tending to her children, and then putting in a couple hours studying radiology or some such. Frankly, I can’t even imagine a college-aged kid taking a full curriculum online. Too many distractions. The Internet is great for so many things… but a university? Doesn’t one need real professors and quality time in a real classroom? To say nothing of human interaction with other humans.

Something about U of P reminds me of that school for budding artists where you draw a hobo or a donkey and send it in for an evaluation…

Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t actually know anyone who attended the University of Phoenix. And I don’t doubt the Police Chief of Cincinnati either. But what’s the deal? Can it be that thousands of Americans are getting a legitimate college education online at the University of Phoenix?

9 Responses to “The University of Phoenix. Can this online college be for real?”

  1. There are lots of these for-profit schools popping up all over the place. They charge more for tuition than state schools (there’s your advertising budget), but they’ve lobbied Congress to allow them to qualify for federal student loans. Many of them are known for being quite aggressive with marketing and recruiting — promising bright tomorrows with high-paying jobs. More common, I suspect, graduates are dealing with crushing student loan debts and a slow job market.

    Hate to paint them all with the same broad brush, but I’m guessing your Spidey senses were tingling for a reason.

    • Steffan1 said

      Thanks for the note, Jim. I’m dying to hear from someone who “attended” the University of Phoenix. Any takers?

      • Johnny Domer said

        It’s time for you to join the 21st century. I’m set to graduate in April of ’13. I attended ASU and some community colleges here in Arizona. UoP has been the most challenging thus far. UoP is by far the leader in online schooling and there are many fly-by-night schools out there in it only for the dollars. While UoP does make money, it really isnt that much more than than ASU or UofA or any state school for that matter. The difference is, the money goes to shareholders rather than an accounts that ASU sits on and uses to build new buildings just to spend money. Because people are profitting and online education is still new, people dont fully understand the concept and therefore bash it. The proof of this concept the millions of dollars ALL schools are investing into their online programs. 5-10 years from now, online education will be mainstream and questions like this will be raised less often. Thank you educating yourself on the subject though, many do not.

      • Steffan1 said

        Dude may have a point…

  2. Olivia said

    I currently attend UOP, and the only reason why is because my Supervisor received her BA, she is now getting her Masters.

  3. Scott said

    You have to be weary of any for-profit school. It’s not that you can’t get a good education, it’s just not likely employers will take you seriously.

    If you or anyone else is serious about online education start off with a school that already has a ground based program. That way you will get the degree and prestige of that school. I have a friend that goes to King College Online, http://online.king.edu , its a private, not-for-profit school in Tennessee. Online education is a great opportunity for many non-traditional students and shouldn’t be looked down upon just because of a few for-profit, aggressive advertising schools out there.

  4. Janet Geuy said

    I earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Phoenix online in 2008. Hardest work i have ever done, great education and a great school. I also worked fulltime, had a family and yes, I came home and did my classes and schoolwork and wrote many,many papers. It can be done, and Uof P was the only way to accomplish it. You have real professors, real curriculum and real interaction in class and outside of it. I also compared my class curriculum to other universities from time to time, and I completed the same assignments as every other college and took the exact same classes for my degree as a ground school. I would bet there is more interaction in an online class than you would be able to receive in a lecture hall with 300+ students at a ground college. I went on after graduation to complete a Masters degree from Colorado State University.

  5. Janet Geuy said

    In response to Scott, my employers have taken me very seriously. I have a great education, and great skills, and have had no issues increasing my pay and forwardng my career, in fact it took off directly after I graduated. I am a Phoenix, and I could not be happier with the entire experience I had there.

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