Five years ago, enrollment at the University of Phoenix was about 460,000 students. Today, it’s about 213,000.
The for-profit university is owned by parent company Apollo Education Group (APOL), which absolutely tanked this past week dropping nearly 30%
Why did this happen?
For-profit universities have had their 15 minutes of fame. This once cash-cow industry now faces nationwide criticism and above all, skepticism for the quality of education provided to its students. In addition, many other schools, for profit and not, are offering online programs which crowds UPhoenix out of the picture.
How can you fairly measure “quality of education?”
The quality of a higher education can be measured in a number of ways ranging from average starting salary to retention rate. One needs to question the quality of a for-profit university education when federal data suggests that despite only enrolling 12% of the nation’s students, for-profit universities account for nearly half of student loan defaults in 2013.
Last year, the Obama Administration proposed new restraints on the amount of aid students can receive to attend for-profit institutions. Rather than use government force, it would be best if people STOPPED taking out loans that they can’t afford on their own. You better be SURE that degree is worth it before you mortgage your future.
According to the Huffington Post, Gregory Cappelli, co-CEO of the University of Phoenix parent company Apollo Group pulled in $25 MILLION in total compensation in 2011. Compare that to the president of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most prestigious universities in the country, who took in $2.8 million.
How do we move forward?
Unfortunately for a lot of college grads, it’s going to be near impossible. Student loan debt has risen to over $1.3 trillion dollars surpassing both credit card debt and auto loan debt. A new USNews Report states that average student loan debt is approaching $30,000 for the class of 2013. This puts a massive strain on a college graduate’s ability to get a car loan, mortgage, and to start a life on their own.
To make matters even worse for college grads, today’s job market is so technologically demanding that many students earning degrees outside of STEM field are going to have an even harder time finding a high enough paying job to pay back those loans.
Recently, LinkedIn released their “25 hottest skills of 2014” with the top 5 being:
1. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
2. Middleware and Integration Software
3. Storage systems and Management
4. Network and Information Security
5. SEO/SEM Marketing
How many college students can confidently say they have any knowledge in any of these areas when the most popular college majors remain being the liberal arts, literature, teacher education, and psychology?
So what are some alternatives?
Going to a college that you can financially afford to go to. Whether this means attending a community college, state-school, or trade school, there is an option available that doesn’t have to be $60,000 a year.
Millennials need to wake up and look at reality. With that I leave you with is a quotation by Aaron Clarey.
“Economics doesn’t care what you believe in. Economics is the most unracist, unbigoted, unsexist entity there is. It plain doesn’t give a fuck who you are. If you fuck up, you will be punished by economics, it’s just that simple.”