Will U of Arkansas buy U of Phoenix?!

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AsianStew, Feb 16, 2023.

  1. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I didn't mean to make it sound like getting into an Engineering Management program was a super difficult thing to do or one that required the accreditation. Just to say that an Engineering Technology degree is a perfectly fine degree for a career in "Engineering" (broad sense) and is unlikely to hold you back or relegate you permanently to a lower tier in terms of scope of work and salary. There are Physical Therapists whose highest degree is a bachelors who were licensed before the Masters became the norm. And today you can earn a bachelors in PT Assistant. Two people with the same level of degree but miles apart in terms of earnings because of where you fell along the degree inflation line graph.

    Engineering is much hazier was my point. And if you added a degree in Engineering Management it is quite possible to work your way into some decent management level positions without even thinking about PE.

    Part of it is also that there are so many related fields where a STEM degree can be swapped in very easily. Work in IT? They'll take you with an engineering (or engineering tech) degree if you have the skills. Our entire Data Science team are all engineers by training. And while one of our Project Management managers is referred to generally as "an engineer by training" his degree being in engineering tech hasn't affected any of that.

    Are there paths, as you note, that will be a dead end? Yes, absolutely. If you are an Engineering Tech assigned to a team of Electrical Engineers, it's highly unlikely you're going to ever take over that team as a Tech. However, could you parlay that experience to become a manager of an engineering or engineering adjacent department? Sure. That isn't specific to engineering. That's just careers in general. An RN will never become Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at a hospital. But they have MANY options for leadership beyond just becoming a unit nurse or, eventually, Director of Nursing. The paths are not as linear as they once were. And, for senior level techs, the work they are doing can sometimes be indistinguishable from what an engineer is working on.

    All of this to say...the degree, and its accreditation, has some strong potential value for Arkansas and I could see why this would potentially be such an attractive thing for them. Is it a substitute for an engineering degree? No. It was never intended to be. In fact, the whole thing made a lot more sense when Engineering Tech topped out at the associates level and more education meant a degree in engineering (it is pretty common to find engineers today who "worked their way up" to have that degree stack). But it's certainly a viable career path, one we have every bit the difficulty filling as non-specialized engineers and I have to imagine Arkansas is probably not too hard on the eyes on a resume.
    Rich Douglas and Suss like this.
  2. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Not just that, but where they are in terms of licensure.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The University of Phoenix can, as a measure of its attractiveness for sale, be evaluated in two ways. First, enrollments. Will the system enjoy even the now-diminished enrollments of UoP?

    Second, they might want to leverage the instructional delivery methodology employed by UoP.

    If neither, why would anyone want to buy it?
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It looks like Grantham hasn't erased the University of Arkansas System's budget deficit. They're expecting that the $20 million licensing deal with University of Phoenix will put them into positive territory. I wouldn't be surprised if Grantham were to disappear in the next 5 to 10 years.
    sideman likes this.
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It's not really being bought; it's being transitioned to a non-profit. It's a licensing deal that can bring in $20 million per year. The University of Arkansas System is operating in the red, and they wouldn't have to spend their own funds to purchase University of Phoenix.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If that's the case, it might not happen. It's not very easy, mainly because owners need to be paid. How they structure that payoff will have an impact on the accreditor's acceptance of the deal. This is where Grand Canyon U. got tripped up when it tried to go to non-profit status.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Based on the articles shared in this thread, University of Arkansas is raising private money to form a non-profit organization that would purchase University of Phoenix. Grand Canyon formed its own non-profit and agreed to share 60% of its revenue with its former for-profit owner. In comparison, Purdue Global is only paying 12% of its revenue to Kaplan for educational services. Grand Canyon is non-profit for IRS purposes, but it is not considered a non-profit by the U.S. Department of Education.
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The US Department of Education shouldn't even be making such a determination, but anyway....
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I actually find myself split on this one. On the one hand, you're right, why should DOE get to decide "Nah, you're not non-profit enough despite that otherwise being a determination made by the IRS?"

    On the other hand, sending 60% of your revenue back to your previous for-profit owner seems, as the kids would say, "sus."

    But of course, I think the DOE hangup on for versus non profit is ridiculous in the first place. But if we're going to play that game we should probably play it with a reasonable measure of fairness.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Even there, what you're describing is a tax issue, not an educational one. If ED's purview is educational quality of institutions that can participate in federal financial aid programs, then whatever standards it sets should be irrespective of tax status.

    Their hangup is ridiculous, because it's ideological, not educational.
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I think it's well within their purview because tax dollars are being used for profits that don't go toward education or the operation of the school. They're going into shareholders' pockets. Grand Canyon is trying to get around rules for for-profit colleges by pretending to be non-profit. This doesn't help the stereotype that for-profit colleges are shady; Grand Canyon is reinforcing it.

    The U.S. Department of Education's hangup isn't ideological; it's based on data. In general, for-profit colleges spend their funds differently, which is one of the reasons why they have worse outcomes. For-profit companies are beholden to their shareholders. It would be unethical for them to not consider their shareholders, but that also means that faculty, students, and educational facilities do not take priority.
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    If that shareholder orientation causes an institution not to meet the standards, then hold it accountable. If not, then it is not an issue and shouldn't be made to be one.

    And that's not even getting into the different incentives that publicly traded institutions have from privately held ones. Put another way, you seem to be assuming that those who run proprietary schools necessarily believe that the best way to maximize shareholder value is to skimp on everything that attracts and retains customers, and I've seen firsthand that that's not the case.
  14. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    That's how the for-profit sector operates. The free market only works when consumers are educated. For-profit colleges have an endless supply of recruits who know nothing about higher education and have no one to guide them. How do we think quacks get away with selling snake oil in the 21st century? They have plenty of uneducated people to sell to. Their treatments don't need to work.
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Just because different schools share a tax status doesn't mean they're all alike.

    Do you believe that there aren't any tuition-driven non-profit schools who see the wolf at the door and admit students they shouldn't? Because I've seen that firsthand too.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Exceptions don't make the rule. Not all elderly drivers are the same, but some states still regulate them differently from other age groups. Middle-aged drivers also cause accidents, but we know that people's driving skills tend to decline in their senior years. When an entire sector hardly has any schools with similar or better outcomes to comparable non-profit schools, to me it makes sense to put more regulations on a sector that poses more risk. We're not talking about a minority of schools; the majority of for-profit schools are low quality. I don't know why it's so hard to accept that a company's business model and mission have a huge impact on how they market, who they market to, and how they allocate expenditures.
  17. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Some people have an emotional attachment to for-profit colleges either because they graduated from one or because they're Libertarian (and ironically avoided for-profits). This gets in the way of facts.

    According to the report, just one in four for-profit schools are good enough to return what students pay with ten years. But at 69% of those schools, the breakeven point on initial investment is 25 years or more away. A shocking 63% of them deliver no net financial education benefit to poor students at all - ever.

  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Perhaps there are some people like that. But none of them are in this conversation.

    Then by all means, drop from participation in the federal financial aid system those specific schools in that 75% or 69% or 63% or whatever the actual standard is for participation by any institution.

    Because, honestly, "judge each school on its own merits" just doesn't seem all that controversial.
    sideman likes this.
  19. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

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