University of Phoenix Responds to Harper's Magazine

This letter was published in the December 2011 issue of Harper's Magazine in response to Christopher R. Beha's article “Leveling the field” from October 2011.

Letter by Mark Brenner:

Chris Beha’s article on University of Phoenix articulates a fundamentally elitist point of view about proprietary higher education.  Mr. Beha enumerates many tired and outdated charges against our University and other similar universities (including reference to a 2010 GAO investigation, which has since been roundly dismissed as totally erroneous and without any merit), and he insinuates that we fail to invest our profits in our students (ignoring the fact that we recently spent $90 million dollars – more than any university, ever – to bring cognitive learning technology to our student population).

The reality is simple: jobs today require higher education. Employers routinely point out that the most valuable employees are the ones who are able to work collaboratively as part of a team, who possess critical thinking skills and who are accustomed to working against tight deadlines, all of which are skills our students develop and perfect in the course of earning a degree at University of Phoenix.

For some students, traditional colleges and universities are the best path; for others – working adults who support a family, for example – another path must be sought. University of Phoenix serves a segment of the American population for whom an Ivy League education – such as the one Mr. Beha is fortunate to have received – is not a viable option.

Mark Brenner, Senior Vice President, External Affairs

University of Phoenix

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