Admissions Lawsuit University of Phoenix Faces May Cost 80 Million

The Apollo Group announced in October 2009 that it is expecting to settle the University of Phoenix lawsuit soon. The lawsuit University of Phoenix is up against was first filed in 2003 under the Federal False Claims Act. The lawsuit alleged the University of Phoenix wrongfully obtained at least $3 billion in federal funds. The complainants—former staff for admissions into the University of Phoenix Mary Hendow and Julie Albertson—hoped at that time to recover $1.5 billion for themselves and for the federal government, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

In response to a separate investigation in 2004, The Apollo Group paid about $10 million in fines to the U.S. Dept. of Education, which had been examining University of Phoenix admissions practices for being overly focused on boosting enrollment. (The University of Phoenix did not admit wrongdoing and the Dept. of Education did not address the quality University of Phoenix promotes to be true or false.)

University of Phoenix is North America's largest school, with 443,000 students. Apollo Group reports admissions in University of Phoenix up 22 percent this year, and claimed annual revenue of $4 billion for the fiscal year ending on Aug. 31.

The university is regionally accredited, which is the highest form of accreditation. Nonetheless, Phoenix has often sparked controversy in its rise to prominence, with some questioning its ubiquitious ads, academic credibility, and education quality.

In's Ratings & Rankings section, the University of Phoenix has drawn mixed reviews. Students, faculty, and general public members impact the University of Phoenix rating grades ranging from A's to F's. A couple of recent comments illustrate the controversy:
"I've attended both a traditional four year college and UoP. It's disturbing to say the least that UoP doesn't have the reputation it deserves. They're definitley [sic] not a degree mill like some might think." —Mark, Oct. 14, 2009, awarding an A-
"I have not been impressed by UoP. The tuition is stupidly expensive and I have quite frankly not gotten much bang for my buck" —Amber, verified student, Sept. 15, 2009, grade: C-

GetEducated uses verified student comments in our Student Satisfaction ranking and public comments in our Public Perception ranking. We plan to release rankings comparing schools on the basis of satisfaction and perception once we receive enough public data. For this, we need your help.

If you have a grade or comment to make about the University of Phoenix—or any other online school or online degree program—please write a review by searching for a school or degree program in our database, and then clicking on the Reviews tab.


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