Letters to the Editor

U. of Phoenix Graduation Rates Omit Many Nontraditional Students

April 13, 2012

To the Editor:

The vast majority of today's college students are not kids, and they aren't strolling the quad of a traditional college campus ("Serious Revelations About For-Profits and the Republican Party" The Chronicle, March 26). They are working adults, providing for a family, and are paying for their college education themselves. They are also vastly ignored when the government calculates graduation rates for institutions.

These nontraditional students are left out of the data used to calculate graduation rates because they are not the first-year, full-time students you might see at Ohio State University or other traditional institutions. The graduation rates that Frank Donoghue cited for University of Phoenix account for less than one-third of our total student population. For example, the graduation rate cited for our Northern Virginia campus accounts for only 14 percent of students. To pass judgment on the quality of the University of Phoenix based on such misleading information is reckless. Any responsible blogger will find that accurate data on University of Phoenix graduation rates is easily available in our "Academic Annual Report."

The University of Phoenix provides a flexible, rigorous, and relevant education. And we are a leader in bringing innovation and cutting-edge technology to higher education. It was the University of Phoenix, of course, that pioneered the online classroom and was one of the first institutions to adopt online textbooks. It's no surprise that traditional universities are now exploring ways to do the same.

At the University of Phoenix, we are proud of our record of providing a regionally accredited, quality education for students of all ages and backgrounds. Mr. Donoghue is more than welcome to attend one of our next commencement ceremonies to meet our many graduates that were not represented in this faulty data used to unfairly disparage our university.

Mark Brenner
Senior Vice President
External Affairs
Apollo Group Inc.