Higher Education

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville faculty object to potential acquisition of the University of Phoenix

Dive Temporary:

  • The College of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s school senate is publicly objecting to the state system’s potential acquisition of the College of Phoenix, as soon as a premiere for-profit establishment, however which has since misplaced lots of of 1000’s of scholars and vital clout within the sector.
  • College members registered considerations a couple of doable sale in an undated open letter to the College of Arkansas System governing board and Donald Bobbitt, the system president. They expressed fears in regards to the system’s branding being related to the College of Phoenix, which they are saying has a historical past of poor scholar outcomes and deceptive advertising in regards to the high quality of its applications.
  • The professors urged the Arkansas system, which enrolls almost 31,000 college students, to as a substitute make investments funding “right here in the one state in America the place one can nonetheless discover diamonds.”

Dive Perception:

The College of Phoenix was as soon as a powerhouse establishment, enrolling virtually half one million college students at its peak in 2010. Its enrollment has since dwindled to just about 86,000 as of fall 2021, in response to probably the most recently available federal data.

Nonetheless, the establishment bled college students over time amid unhealthy press in regards to the for-profit trade and alleged deceptive advertising practices. 

The College of Phoenix epitomized this criticism. In a high-profile deal in 2019, the faculty struck a $191 million settlement settlement with the Federal Commerce Fee over allegations it misrepresented its relationships with main employers like Adobe and Microsoft in its ads.

The college has since tried to streamline operations and shake off its unhealthy fame. It mentioned final yr it’s on track to close all however one in all its bodily campuses by 2024. The college’s website lists 10 campuses in California, and one every in Texas, Nevada and Hawaii.

In the meantime, College of Arkansas school stay unimpressed. 

Of their letter, they tore into a possible deal, writing that the faculty’s “historical past will linger for years to come back, and our campus is on the most threat for affiliation with it.”

“The College of Phoenix has confirmed itself, by means of strikingly low commencement and retention charges, to be unsuccessful at serving to college students attain their instructional objectives, anathema to what we do right here,” the college senate wrote.

The precise particulars of a possible sale haven’t materialized. Nonetheless, the system has mentioned it might use an affiliated nonprofit entity to probably buy the College of Phoenix and remold it into an impartial, on-line nonprofit.

The Arkansas Occasions, which first reported the prospect of a sale, valued the deal between $500 million to $700 million.

Nate Hinkel, a spokesperson for the Arkansas system, harassed in an e mail that it might solely use personal cash, not public funds, in a possible acquisition. 

“President Bobbitt stays optimistic about persevering with to seek out revolutionary methods to deliver extra sources to the UA System in a time of uncertainty with the looming enrollment cliff and funding that has remained flat,” Hinkel mentioned. “We see this as a really forward-thinking approach to generate further income and maximize different advantages of the potential affiliation to achieve extra folks with the worth of upper training and the alternatives it creates to be a stronger System.

Arkansas officers have mentioned a licensing association underneath negotiation with the College of Phoenix may yield about $20 million for the system yearly, some extent school representatives referenced of their letter.

However they wrote they’ve “severe reservations about that sustainability.”

Editor’s be aware: This piece has been up to date with an announcement from the College of Arkansas System.


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