U of Phoenix partners with community colleges

The University of Phoenix will roll out more than 100 new partnerships with community colleges in the coming year. The nation’s largest for-profit university will offer bachelor’s degree programs to two-year graduates, gaining students who are more likely to graduate and repay their student loans.

Under increasing regulatory scrutiny, the University of Phoenix has seen enrollment drop precipitously from a peak near 500,000 to 320,000.

U of Phoenix blocks community college degrees

In Arizona, the University of Phoenix worked to stop community colleges from offering low-priced bachelor’s degree programs. That allowed the for-profit chain to continue to advertise that it offers more degrees and options than community colleges.

A 6-foot, 8-inch woman — formerly a man — is playing on the women’s basketball team at a California community college. Gabrielle Ludwig, 50, played briefly on a men’s team decades ago.

Teacher ed goes online (and mostly for-profit)

Online teacher education is booming,reports USA Today, which has been crunching U.S. Education Department data.

Virtually unknown a decade ago, big online teacher education programs now dwarf their traditional competitors, outstripping even the largest state university teachers’ colleges.

. . .  four big universities, operating mostly online, have quickly become the largest education schools in the USA. Last year the four — three of which are for-profit — awarded one in 16 bachelor’s degrees and post-graduate awards and nearly one in 11 advanced education awards, including master’s degrees and doctorates.

A decade ago, in 2001, the for-profit University of Phoenix awarded 72 education degrees to teachers, administrators and other school personnel through its online program, according to federal data. Last year, it awarded nearly 6,000 degrees, more than any other university.

Most new teachers earn bachelor’s degrees in education at traditional colleges, such as Arizona State, the nation’s leader. “But online schools such as Phoenix and Walden University awarded thousands more master’s degrees than even the top traditional schools, all of which are pushing to offer online coursework.”

Of course, if districts stopped paying teachers more for master’s degrees, the master’s market would collapse.

For-profit colleges, hit hard by the Harkin report for high tuition and low graduation rates, do no worse than public colleges and universities that admit all applicants, a defender argues.

Phoenix grads earn more

University of Phoenix graduates earn more than graduates of traditional public and private universities throughout their careers, concludes the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. But beware of apples to oranges comparisons.

Also on Community College SpotlightHispanic high school graduation rates are rising and enrollment in community colleges has nearly doubled in a decade.

Personalizing online learning

On Community College Spotlight: Inspired by Facebook, the University of Phoenix is working on a platform that would personalize online learning.

K12, which specializes in online learning for K-12 students, and Blackboard, which makes course-management software, will partner to sell online remedial courseware to community colleges.

Phoenix falling

Under pressure from the Education Department’s proposed changes in student loan rules, University of Phoenix will focus on increasing graduation rates rather than expanding enrollment. The announcement was followed by a 25 percent drop in the parent company’s stock price; the whole for-profit higher education sector nosedived in sympathy.

The for-profit giant will require new students to go through a free three-week orientation. In pilot projects, about 20 percent who go to orientation decide not to enroll.

For-profit floats idea of money-back guarantee

Under federal pressure because so many students are defaulting on loans, Kaplan University’s CEO has told Education Secretary Arne Duncan he’s willing to give students their money back if they’re not satisfied with introductory courses. University of Phoenix is piloting a free, three-week orientation so students can make sure they’re ready for college before they pay tuition and take out loans. So far, 80 percent of prospective students who take the orientation go on to enroll.

Also on Community College Spotlight, Accenture’s CEO champions community colleges. A plumber’s son, he got his start at a two-year college.

$1 trillion to meet college goal without for-profits

On Community College Spotlight:  Without a strong for-profit sector, it will cost nearly $1 trillion to make the U.S. first in the world in college degrees by 2020, President Obama’s goal, argues a former University of Phoenix president.

Also, why the smartest students go to community college.

Phoenix rises to lead associate degree list

On Community College Spotlight: The number one producer of associate degrees in the nation is University of Phoenix Online. Despite much higher tuition — partially subsidized by federal aid — flexible for-profits are taking students away from crowded community colleges.

In and out of college

Seventy percent of Boston’s public high school graduates go to a four- or two-year college, but few earn a degree or certificate, concludes a study funded by the Boston Foundation. They’re not prepared: At one community college, 80 percent of Boston public graduates required remedial math, reports the Boston Globe.

The study followed Boston students who transferred from one institution to another over a six-year period.  Only 12 percent of Boston students who started at a community college earned a degree or certificate of any kind;  one-third of four-year state college students and 56 percent of four-year, private college students earned a degree within six years.

The most successful local community college offers intensive five-week and 10-week courses to create a sense of urgency for students, emulating University of Phoenix courses for working adults.

Via The College Puzzle.