he University of Phoenix plans to roll out more than 100 new partnerships with community colleges in the coming year – a strategy that, if successful, will provide a much-needed financial and reputational boost to the nation’s largest for-profit school.
Facing declining enrollment and regulatory scrutiny, the University of Phoenix has targeted community college students as a safe and profitable investment. And some community college administrators, eager to offer their students more opportunities to earn a bachelor’s degree, are embracing the school’s overtures.
It’s a strategic business move for the for-profit giant.
The University of Phoenix has raked in billions of dollars through federal financial aid programs. But critics contend that the company serves students poorly and leaves them saddled with debt they cannot repay.
Now, as federal dollars are increasingly tied to student outcomes, the University of Phoenix is attempting to attract more qualified students from community colleges, in hopes of retaining its slice of the government pie.
The new partnerships will funnel graduates of associate’s degree programs at community colleges into bachelor’s degree programs at the University of Phoenix, providing the for-profit school with an influx of students who are more likely to graduate and repay their student loans, company executives say.
However, the company acknowledges that the specific details of the partnerships have not yet been established. Only two – with large community colleges in Virginia and Arizona – have been publicly announced, University of Phoenix spokesman Ryan Rauzon said. <Read more.>