University of Phoenix Enrollment Down by 42%

Student enrollment at University of Phoenix dropped by 42% in the last quarter of 2010 and its parent company Apollo Group believes that this drop may be only the beginning.

Arizona Republic's Jahna Berry reports that the company expects enrollment figures to fall by as much as 40% this quarter, and this decline may last the whole year.

Overall enrollment in Phoenix University fell by 3.8% in 2010 to 438,100, and not surprisingly, the company's profits fell too. It did manage to beat analysts' estimates, says Berry, in part because the Apollo Group had warned investors in October that enrollment was expected to fall.

The article points to the rules enacted this year aimed at tightening for-profit universities' recruiting and financial aid policies.

But the Apollo Group points to the bad economy as the cause of the declining enrollment, and the University of Phoenix has raised tuition rates which might account for some of the decline. The Apollo Grouop also said that that decline was due in part to a new mandatory orientation program for incoming students -- a three-week introduction (with financial counseling) before students take on loan debt. According to Berry, however, that program only accounted for about 25% of the drop in enrollment.

Despite the declining number of students at the University of Phoenix, revenue was up -- $1.33 billion for the fourth quarter of 2010, up by 5.4% from the previous three months. Shares rose after the news, the Arizona Republic reports.

But I have to wonder: a 42% declinea the University of Phoenix. Why did students stop attending? Did it cost too much? Was the orientation program too burdensome? Was there not enough financial aid? Was it not a quality education? Did they attend another school -- online or offline, non- or for-profit?


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