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  1. #1

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    University of Phoenix May Be Placed on Probation by Accreditor

    For those interested, the University of Phoenix has been told they will be recommended to be placed on probation by the Higher Learning Commission, its main accreditors. This means that the university is out of compliance on a major issue re: its accreditation - in this case, the HLC has concerns re: the uni's governance by the Apollo Group, its corporate owner. Originally, the university had been told by the HLC that it would be placed on "notice", which is less severe.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_2762168.html
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    Just remove its accreditation finally. Honestly.

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    From the form 8-K report:

    Specifically, the review team concluded that the University of Phoenix has insufficient autonomy relative to
    its parent corporation and sole shareholder, Apollo Group, Inc., to assure that its board of directors can
    manage the institution, assure the University’s integrity, exercise the board’s fiduciary responsibilities, and
    make decisions necessary to achieve the institution’s mission and successful operation.
    Beyond that, "areas of concern" (these areas did not lead to the probation, but were raised as issues in general) included retention and graduation rates, the heavy reliance of its students on federal financial aid, "assessment of student learning" and PhD faculty research activity.

    Since none of these issues are new for this uni, or for other for-profit unis, it seems the accrediting bodies are finally cracking down on the for-profit unis.
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    I don't have a lot of respect for an online degree. Who's to say who took the tests or wrote the papers? It's too anonymous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    I don't have a lot of respect for an online degree. Who's to say who took the tests or wrote the papers? It's too anonymous.
    Most online degrees have some system for requiring student identity to be verified for taking exams. U of P makes students take their tests in person, with ID and fingerprinting, and yet here they are. Meanwhile, it's a piece of cake for students in giant lecture classes to send someone else in to take an exam in person. It happens a lot.

    As for papers, who is to say who wrote them even if they are handed in in person? It's easy to catch students who copy their work off the internet, but it's nearly impossible to do anything about students who have someone else write papers for them. I am not allowed to say one word to a student about plagiarism unless I have the original work in hand.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post

    As for papers, who is to say who wrote them even if they are handed in in person? It's easy to catch students who copy their work off the internet, but it's nearly impossible to do anything about students who have someone else write papers for them. I am not allowed to say one word to a student about plagiarism unless I have the original work in hand.
    Look at Harvard. Honestly, unless you're like my old uni and one cheating offense can and usually does get you kicked out (if you go quietly, they'll call it "withdrawn", if you go to an open trial and lose, your transcript will say "expelled") there are no guarantees. And even there a couple of people a year generally get busted (though the rule also applies to lying, cheating, or stealing at ANYTHING. Even off-campus. Steal or pass a bad check in town? Violation of the honor code.) On-line might be SLIGHTLY easier, but people have been cheating and plagiarizing at regular in-person schools for years.

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    I'm not crazy about online schools either for an entire degree. The University of Phoenix is an actually building where students can attend, I had a take a license test there once. But I think most are just diploma mills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    Since none of these issues are new for this uni, or for other for-profit unis, it seems the accrediting bodies are finally cracking down on the for-profit unis.
    One can hope.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    One can hope.
    I know that Phoenix is the big guy in the business, so they're a highly visible target, but I hope that this increased scrutiny applies to all the for-profits. That they don't just target Phoenix. Because relatively speaking, Phoenix isn't nearly as bad as some of the other for-profits in terms of actually teaching their students, and providing real content for their courses, and actually caring about their students' educations, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    I don't have a lot of respect for an online degree. Who's to say who took the tests or wrote the papers? It's too anonymous.
    Online degrees actually give you much more and force you to work much more than the vast majority of 'normal' universities, IMO.

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    That has not been my experience from those around me taking online courses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Online degrees actually give you much more and force you to work much more than the vast majority of 'normal' universities, IMO.
    Can't say I've found that to be true. All my students who've studied through online programs are significantly worse off (both academically and financially) than those who attended traditional degree programs. Can't say I've heard any stories to the contrary (though I'm sure they exist).

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    I'm kind of curious - what's the difference between a university like Phoenix and a regular university that charges obscenely high tuition? Why is one considered for-profit and the other not?

    I just had to take an online ethics exam that's required for all graduate students where I study. You were supposed to state that you would not consult any reference material while taking it, and I didn't. Whether others did the same I can't say, but certainly students who want to cheat can do so anywhere. I'm sometimes at how shameless students can be about these things.

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    Some of the differences would be graduation rates (Phoenix has a VERY low completion rate), and also the rigor of the work. (Kaplan is not very rigorous; my mom's hospital will no longer accept nursing precepts from them because they are TERRIBLE and lack some of the most basic skills.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Online degrees actually give you much more and force you to work much more than the vast majority of 'normal' universities, IMO.
    There is tremendous variation in online programs.

    I will say that my experience with them has been that there is a lot more work to do on a weekly basis, but it hasn't always been particularly productive work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    I'm kind of curious - what's the difference between a university like Phoenix and a regular university that charges obscenely high tuition? Why is one considered for-profit and the other not?.
    Um, one makes a profit and one doesn't?

    Nonprofits charge tuition that covers expenses but does not generate profit for the university. For profits charge tuition that does make a profit for the university.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    I'm kind of curious - what's the difference between a university like Phoenix and a regular university that charges obscenely high tuition? Why is one considered for-profit and the other not?

    I just had to take an online ethics exam that's required for all graduate students where I study. You were supposed to state that you would not consult any reference material while taking it, and I didn't. Whether others did the same I can't say, but certainly students who want to cheat can do so anywhere. I'm sometimes at how shameless students can be about these things.
    A traditional university, such as UMass Amherst or Harvard, takes your tuition dollars and the money they raise, and puts it back into the university itself. In fact, most traditional schools don't charge you as much as your education actually costs. They cover the rest of those costs via fundraising, etc. They are a university. They are there to educate students.

    For-profit schools, such as Phoenix, Kaplan, Devry, ITT, Strayer, etc., charge enough tuition to ensure they make a profit, and then pass at least some of that profit on to their owners/stockholders. They're a business. Their main reason for being is making money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Um, one makes a profit and one doesn't?

    will say that my experience with them has been that there is a lot more work to do on a weekly basis, but it hasn't always been particularly productive work.
    I live in a country where no university charges the sort of tuition universities do in the US, even the public ones, so excuse me if the difference isn't so clear to me. My understanding is that 1. there are universities with endowments that could more than cover the cost of tuition for every student on campus, but charge very high tuition nonetheless. 2. There is an interesting relationship between the availability of college loans and the growth of that industry and the rising cost of tuition.

    So: do non-profit universities really put all the money that comes in into education and administrative costs? Or does it cover more than that? I'm genuinely curious. The thought of paying $50,000 a year or starting life with a 6-figure student loan debt baffles me. How can a university education be that expensive? What are people paying for?

    That said, obviously I am well aware that the academic standards are not the same everywhere, and some universities treat students as customers (who are always right) more than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    That has not been my experience from those around me taking online courses.
    It really depends on the program. I felt my online degree was rigorous, though not always challenging (though I'm told that is normal for a master's in education, because you are getting a degree in a field you are comfortbable with.) However, I purposefully selected a 'real' school with an online component. We did the same coursework as those who went to the brick and mortar school (though my school issues vastly more online degrees than brick and mortar degrees) and many of my classmates did half online, half in-person work and said the classes were pretty much the same regardless of which you took.

    A friend also did an online degree with a different school, and his degree required a number of Skype presentations, basically as if you were in a group classroom.

    During my Bachelor's the two online classes I had to take were WAY harder than my regular classes, and they even allowed open book, but proctored (it was online, but on campus, if that makes sense) tests. The tests were timed though, so if you were using your book, you probably wouldn't be able to finish!

    My degree paid off for me (I did not take out any loans, I saved for 6 years and paid cash). It was very expensive (private, not-for-profit) but because of it I was able to take a new job, and my raise will cover the cost in just two years. If I had not done an online program, I would have had no way to get a degree because our local university offers no night classes (nor a good program in my field of study- Mathematics Education). There is a nearby school that has a half distance half in person degree, but since I'm not a teacher, I can't take a full summer off to be on campus.
    Last edited by Skittl1321; 03-01-2013 at 08:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    I'm kind of curious - what's the difference between a university like Phoenix and a regular university that charges obscenely high tuition? Why is one considered for-profit and the other not?
    One has 501(c)(3) status with the IRS and one does not. A "non-profit" university administrator can still command a seven-figure salary, while nagging alumni working as baristas at Starbucks to donate. Total satire, but The Onion had a funny take on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    I'm kind of curious - what's the difference between a university like Phoenix and a regular university that charges obscenely high tuition? Why is one considered for-profit and the other not?
    The for-profit answers back to shareholders. They are basically like any other company- they exist to make money.

    A regular university has to make money to support itself. Professors need to be paid, or else they will go elsewhere (in most cases academia still pays less than industry though), so some are paid highly. Staff needs to be paid too (I work for a University in a totally non-teaching capacity, however, my program actually generates revenue for our college, so we are self-funded, but if we went through a bad year, the University may be able to carry us a bit.) And research needs to be funded. The best universities are not just ones that educate students but also generate and publish new research. There are people who are dedicated to nothing but writing grants to help fund this research, but again, in lean years, some of that money comes from revenue generated by tuition. However, if they make 'extra' money- there is no dividend to shareholders. 'Extra' money isn't something they are wanting to make- not a profit. I believe 501(c)(3)s have a limit to the 'profit' they can make, so if a university was consitently running on surplus, they would have to redo their budgets, but there is always someplace to reinvest it, so that never happens.

    In years past, states greatly funded their public universities. A lot of this funding has been cut, so the difference has had to come from tuition payments.

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