Thursday, October 18, 2012

Has for-profit higher ed reached its peak?

The University of Phoenix announced today it will close 115 locations around the country.  An enrollment growth leader in the for-profit higher ed arena, at its peak the University of Phoenix could boast a student body of 400,000 students - making it the largest institution of higher education in the world.  Quantity doesn't always equate with quality, though, and several years of bad press targeting for-profit schools may have played a part in the decline.

To be clear, the U of Phoenix isn't shedding students.  It is shedding buildings.  Ironically, a higher ed institution known for its online presence is moving more online, if you will.  Students in the face-to-face or blended courses (in-person and online sessions) can transfer to online courses. 

So what message might this send to other institutions?  Stop building new buildings and invest in cloud technologies?  The only certainty demonstrated by the U of Phoenix's announcement is that higher ed continues to be in a state of flux - for all schools; public, private, for-profit.  One can only imagine what higher ed will look like when today's traditional-age students send their kids to college.

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