Enrollments Plunge at Many For-Profit Colleges

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by imalcolm, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    How can they have official numbers for 2Q 2012?
  2. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    The numbers and dates are from Apollo Group's financial reports, and they reflect Apollo's fiscal year. Their fiscal year (not surprisingly) follows the academic calendar -- for example, fiscal year 2012 actually began in Sept 2011, and will end in Aug 2012. This means that Apollo's fiscal calendar runs four months ahead of the conventional calendar.

    1Q = Sept to Nov
    2Q = Dec to Feb (so results become available in March)
    3Q = Mar to May
    4Q = Jun to Aug
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2012
  3. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    I've commented on this before, but I'll point it out again -- there is an odd pattern to the UoP enrollment decline. UoP is suffering from huge enrollment losses at the Associate's and Master's levels. But in contrast, their Bachelor's and Doctoral programs have managed to maintain almost stable enrollments. No idea why this difference exists.

    Associates - 212,100 to 118,100 - drop of 44.3 %
    Bachelors - 186,400 to 179,400 - drop of 3.8 %
    Masters - 70,400 to 51,000 - drop of 27.6 %
    Doctorate - 7,600 to 7,300 - drop of 3.9 %
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2012
  4. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Not so odd, most people don't care where they get the bachelors as many just need one to get into a better master's.

    A Masters from the UoP has very little value so I can see the drop.

    The Doctorate at any for profit school is a good business mainly because there is not enough competition yet. However, you will see these numbers dropping any time soon once better schools start offering these credentials.

    I know a person teaching for the doctorate program at the UoP and it appears that many believe that the doctorate will become the next masters so many are taking it just to remain competitive.
  5. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    I will add to the previous poster's comments.

    My understanding is that UOP is no longer pushing the AA level programs as hard as they were before. The default rate for these students is higher, and retention is lower than for UOP Bachelor's students. Also, these students tend to be the least academically prepared students, as they tend to have very limited previous college experience.
  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Could they just be getting shifted to Axium or Western (I think those are the other schools under the Apollo unbrella)?
  7. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    I still teach courses occasionally for UoP and just from a faculty standpoint, I have seen a real downward-shift in the last year or so. I used to get four solicitations to teach courses every term (the maximum). I would typically decline the courses with larger student numbers and cherry-pick the smaller courses. Over the last year, I have gotten about two solicitations per term for high-demand classes that are core to the business BA. I accepted several over the Winter since my other teaching load was light - every single one of them was cancelled due to low enrollment.
  8. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    I think that part of the decline could be due to a lack of information at the bottom end (associates and bachelors) and a lack of options at the top end (Doctorate).

    To explain further, we have all seen the huge explosion in distance programs being offered at non-profit schools in recent years. At the same time the the for-profit college brand in general and UoP brand in particular has been horribly damaged and has gained a reputation of being substandard.

    However, at the doctoral level, there really hasn't been much of a significant increase in the non-profit distance options for people. For the most part, the folks who could not get into non-profit doctoral programs still can't get into them, because so few additional seats have been added. The end result is that even if the UoP brand has been horribly damaged over the years, people in need of a doctorate with less than steller academic credentials still don't have much of a choice.

    Contrast that with the master's level programs. Remember when there were VERY few MBA programs that were offered at non-profit schools via distance education? Now they are everywhere. This expansion has happened in almost all masters degree categories. Non-profit schools have realized that these programs are a great revenue generator and that they have a HUGE branding advantage over for-profit schools. Furthermore, several state schools are getting into the game and offering degrees at much lower rates. At this point, I cannot think of a single reason why someone would go to UoP for an MBA as opposed to a non-profit. Even the old problem with admission standards has been lessened as the increase in the number of programs has broadened the opportunities for folks with less than steller academic credentials.

    So now, someone looking for a masters degree has TONS of options, and at the same time recognizes the UoP stigma. The result is that they avoid the school. Whereas a potential doctoral candidate has no choice, even a UoP doctorate is better than no doctorate at all.

    At the bottom end of the spectrum, the folks looking for the AA and BA are the LEAST informed about higher education, and probably have the least access to information about their options. I have always felt that schools like UoP and Westwood prey upon that ignorance. The bad press about UoP and other for-profits as well as information about all of the new AA and BA programs at non-p;rofit schools doesn't reach them.
  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Doesn't look like it.

    Axia College no longer exists; it was merged with UoP in 2011.

    Western International University still exists, but it only had 3,084 enrolled students in April 2011, which is less than 1% the size of UoP.

    Technically, WIU is not under the same umbrella as UoP. UoP is wholly owned by Apollo Group. WIU is owned by "Apollo Global", which is a partnership between Apollo Group and the Carlyle Group (a private equity firm). Apollo may have no incentive to shift UoP students to WIU, because then they would have to split the profits with Carlyle.

    Apollo Global includes for-profit schools in Mexico, Chile, and the UK, in addition to WIU. It formerly included Meritus University in Canada, which closed in 2011.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2012
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    More coverage today in this Arizona Republic news story: U of Phx parent still struggling with declining enrollment

    Apollo's co-CEO is quoted: "we've experienced what many have called the most difficult 18 months in our sector's history".

    The story suggests that UoP and other for-profit schools face the following issues:

    - the federal government has stepped up oversight;
    - the weak economy has made students more cautious about debt;
    - more traditional schools have boosted online class offerings.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2012
  11. isellpower

    isellpower New Member

    Because it's easy. Both admissions and acadamic rigor are much easier at a place like UOP, Kaplan, etc. Let's not be foolish to think that there is any other reason. Look at the requirements for an MBA from the University of South Dakota online and UOP. USD makes UOP look like a GED.
  12. carlosb

    carlosb New Member

    Northcentral's doctoral admissions requirement:

    Doctoral Degree Programs, Doctoral Degree Admissions & Admission Requirements | Northcentral University

    Compare to Florida International University A rising but currently low tier AACSB school:


    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2012
  13. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

  14. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Although Phoenix is certainly the largest and tends to be the lightning rod for private-sector education, it is not necessarily indicative of the entire sector. Capella still appears to be going strong and Walden has experienced serous growth at the doctoral level. My institution had its largest crop of doctoral applications ever. Unfortunately, we had to tur down a number of them, as they did not meet the entrance requirements.
  15. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    I agree. I think the reason UoP is suffering is because of the (largely self-inflicted) damage that has been done to their brand. The UoP brand (rightly or wrongly) has been bound to the image of the sub-par, for-profit, online school in the mind of the general public.
  16. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    What are the requirements?
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Actually it looks like Capella has started to shrink too, though probably not as much as UoP.

    The latest enrollment number for Capella is 37,704 for 4Q 2011 (Capella follows the conventional calendar, not the academic calendar, so 4Q = Oct to Dec).

    For comparison, the enrollment number for 4Q 2010 was 39,477.

    So Capella's enrollments also seem to be falling. I have not compiled all of their quarterly results, so I don't know what their peak enrollment was, or how far they have dropped since that peak.

    Can't readily get current numbers for Walden, because they are privately held and don't release quarterly data to investors.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2012
  18. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    To be considered by the admissions committee, a candidate must possess: 1) a masters degree from a regionally accredited university in an area related to the major (management) or one of the concentrations (strategic management, conflict management, human resource leadership or I.T. management); 2) minimum graduate GPA of 3.25; 3) minimum of five years professional experience at the managerial level; 4) an essay that makes a convincing case that one's preparation and career goals are compatible with a research-based Ph.D. and that demonstrates the ability to write at a clear and advanced level. GRE or GMAT are considered for admission, but not required. Applications are evaluated by a committee consisting of three doctoral faculty who, working separately, send their recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School.

    A successful candidate with a masters not directly related would be required to take up to four foundational courses.
  19. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    And it is free to adjuncts?!? :deal:
  20. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    The chart that I saw showed enrollments down at the large publicly-traded organizations (Apollo, Kaplan, Bridgeport, Career Education Corp., Corinthian & Education Management). I did not see Capella's or Walden's figures, but the doctoral degrees awarded were still up there for Capella and rise greatly for Walden. It's possible that overall enrollment has slowed over there, though. Interestingly, APUS enrollments were up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2012

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