2020 Academic Annual Report
Our guiding principles
The mission of University of Phoenix is to provide access to higher education opportunities that enable students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the performance of their organizations and provide leadership and service to their communities.
The vision of University of Phoenix
is to be recognized as the most trusted provider of career-relevant higher
education for working adults. The University will earn that trust
- Deep understanding of students’ needs
- Deep understanding of employers’ needs
- World-class assessment, analytics and innovation
- Operational excellence
We believe that our students:
Deserve quality academic programs that are career-relevant and are offered by an accredited institution.
Should be supported by qualified staff and faculty, as well as by University efforts to help aid them on the path to graduation.
Should be the singular reason we continue to advance the quality, career-relevance and convenience of our academic programs.
Are entitled to transparency so they can make informed choices about their educational and financial future.
Should have the freedom and ability to choose the educational institution that best meets their needs.
We believe that as an institution, we should:
Ensure we are valuing students’ time and money.
Market responsibly and demonstrate integrity in all of our materials, exposures and engagements.
Collaborate with employers, public or government officials and regulators, researchers and peer institutions to enhance the experiences and outcomes for our students.
Be accountable to our students, our regulators and the general public for delivering skills, knowledge and opportunities through our educational programs.
Maintain financial stability as a measure of accountability to students, a means to provide for the long-term viability of our programs, and an indicator of our ability to invest in the student experience.
2020 Academic Annual Report | University of Phoenix
From our earliest beginnings as the University that changed higher education, University of Phoenix has embraced innovation. Even with challenges posed by a pandemic, 2020 was no different. Read about how we continue to deliver career-relevant coursework applicable in the real world.
00:00:01.360,00:00:04.130 - Hello, and welcome to the digital presentation
00:00:04.130,00:00:07.880 - of our Fiscal Year 2020 Academic Annual Report.
00:00:07.880,00:00:10.660 - We will continue to produce this dynamic format
00:00:10.660,00:00:13.580 - as well as a PDF version, which you can download
00:00:13.580,00:00:15.470 - from this digital version.
00:00:15.470,00:00:17.640 - I hope you'll take the time to view both
00:00:17.640,00:00:21.243 - and learn about the unprecedented year we had in 2020.
00:00:23.420,00:00:26.490 - No one could have imagined the life changing events,
00:00:26.490,00:00:29.300 - this year would bring into our world.
00:00:29.300,00:00:32.320 - The global COVID 19 pandemic touched all of us
00:00:32.320,00:00:33.550 - in various ways
00:00:33.550,00:00:37.180 - and certainly changed how we approach many things in life,
00:00:37.180,00:00:38.600 - perhaps forever.
00:00:38.600,00:00:41.930 - And the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery,
00:00:41.930,00:00:45.910 - Breonna Taylor and others thrust to the forefront,
00:00:45.910,00:00:49.420 - the persistent and pervasive systemic racism
00:00:49.420,00:00:52.523 - that has plagued our society for far too long.
00:00:54.170,00:00:55.710 - At University of Phoenix,
00:00:55.710,00:00:59.140 - we quickly focused on where we could begin to make an impact
00:00:59.140,00:01:00.940 - on both fronts.
00:01:00.940,00:01:03.260 - We knew that our long history and expertise
00:01:03.260,00:01:06.210 - in online remote learning should be shared
00:01:06.210,00:01:08.630 - with our colleagues in education.
00:01:08.630,00:01:11.140 - So we curated a set of free courses
00:01:11.140,00:01:14.710 - from our college of education and shared them with teachers
00:01:14.710,00:01:19.430 - in K-12 and higher education to help them adjust to teaching
00:01:19.430,00:01:21.410 - in a virtual environment.
00:01:21.410,00:01:22.350 - We also partnered
00:01:22.350,00:01:26.160 - with the online education technology platform, Blackboard
00:01:26.160,00:01:29.400 - to create the Virtual Teaching Academy,
00:01:29.400,00:01:33.780 - which included a series of free online interactive events,
00:01:33.780,00:01:37.500 - designed to help teachers and school administrators prepare
00:01:37.500,00:01:40.070 - for the new school year that would continue
00:01:40.070,00:01:41.320 - in a virtual environment.
00:01:43.030,00:01:45.040 - While we were serving our community,
00:01:45.040,00:01:49.250 - we remained laser-focused on our students and their needs.
00:01:49.250,00:01:51.960 - Many of our students were disproportionately impacted
00:01:51.960,00:01:55.180 - by the pandemic who had to balance their jobs
00:01:55.180,00:01:59.540 - and overseeing their children's education all from home
00:01:59.540,00:02:01.390 - and while adjusting to the changes
00:02:01.390,00:02:03.600 - of a pandemic inflicted world.
00:02:03.600,00:02:06.420 - But as is always the case with our students,
00:02:06.420,00:02:09.880 - they've persevered and fought for their dreams.
00:02:09.880,00:02:13.460 - For example, our retention rates continued a 40 a month
00:02:13.460,00:02:17.010 - upward trajectory rising throughout 2020.
00:02:17.010,00:02:20.420 - What this means is our students found a way to continue
00:02:20.420,00:02:23.150 - to progress through their degree programs
00:02:23.150,00:02:26.553 - despite the world being turned upside down by the pandemic.
00:02:28.540,00:02:33.180 - We also turned inward as an institution and reflected
00:02:33.180,00:02:35.990 - on how we were approaching systemic racism
00:02:35.990,00:02:37.183 - in our own university.
00:02:38.070,00:02:41.580 - We knew that open conversation was a good place to begin.
00:02:41.580,00:02:45.880 - And to that end, we launched the Inclusive Cafe,
00:02:45.880,00:02:49.660 - a virtual meeting space to connect and build community.
00:02:49.660,00:02:52.730 - It has become a place to draw on the diverse perspectives
00:02:52.730,00:02:55.820 - of participants and to explore powerful
00:02:55.820,00:02:57.530 - and effective responses
00:02:57.530,00:02:59.663 - as we face this new reality together.
00:03:01.620,00:03:05.400 - You see, we were envisioned by Dr. Johns Berlin,
00:03:05.400,00:03:07.820 - who looked at conventional higher education more
00:03:07.820,00:03:11.680 - than four decades ago and knew it had to change.
00:03:11.680,00:03:13.740 - That there had to be a different path,
00:03:13.740,00:03:16.210 - a better path for adult learners.
00:03:16.210,00:03:17.850 - He watched the students struggle
00:03:17.850,00:03:20.560 - to fit their own adult life circumstances
00:03:20.560,00:03:24.183 - into an inflexible approach to higher education.
00:03:25.490,00:03:27.520 - Our aim is to always help our students,
00:03:27.520,00:03:30.510 - achieve their education goals efficiently
00:03:30.510,00:03:34.490 - and cost effectively even during a pandemic.
00:03:34.490,00:03:38.320 - We're committed to being an education partner for life,
00:03:38.320,00:03:40.680 - for our students and alumni.
00:03:40.680,00:03:44.010 - And in that vein and late in our fiscal year,
00:03:44.010,00:03:47.430 - we introduced Career Services for Life,
00:03:47.430,00:03:51.170 - which provides our students and alumni access to a suite
00:03:51.170,00:03:55.970 - of career tools such as assessments, coaching, mentoring,
00:03:55.970,00:04:00.120 - and resume review to help them in their career journey.
00:04:00.120,00:04:04.483 - 2020 was a year like no other, but it did make us strong.
00:04:05.450,00:04:06.930 - It showed us how we can adjust
00:04:06.930,00:04:10.410 - even the most unprecedented circumstances.
00:04:10.410,00:04:13.130 - And at University of Phoenix,
00:04:13.130,00:04:16.340 - it further solidified what we already knew.
00:04:16.340,00:04:19.160 - Our students, alumni, faculty,
00:04:19.160,00:04:23.000 - and staff can do anything they put their minds to
00:04:23.000,00:04:26.060 - and together we rise.
00:04:26.060,00:04:28.477 - (soft music)
Defining the curve
From our earliest beginnings as the University that changed higher education, University of Phoenix has embraced innovation. Even with challenges posed by a pandemic, 2020 was no different.
In fact, while many institutions spent last year pivoting, we spent it innovating. Whether we’re linking curriculum to careers or offering pre-enrollment assessments to help prospective students fine-tune their goals, we’re not just ahead of the curve. We’re defining the curve.
Our students and graduates get one-on-one career coaching, resumé building and interview prep for life. While outside career advising can cost over $200 an hour, at University of Phoenix it’s built into your degree at no added cost.
With competency-based programs, students can leverage their experience to earn a quality degree. Our competency-based programs can be completed in under a year for less than $11,000.
We have begun an initiative that links programs to the types of skills employers seek. By embedding sought-after skills into curriculum outcomes, we help our students develop career-ready skills while advancing their educational goals.
This option allows students to complete 87 credits at their community college and complete their remaining 33 credits at University of Phoenix to earn a BSM, BSIT, BSHM, or RN to BSN degree at a special rate.
Participants who take our new short courses, which are skills-focused, self-paced and 100% online, can stay competitive and learn about key skills employers want.
Students have online access to helpful tools like Phoebe, our 24/7 chat assistant; MyPhoenix, our always-on student portal; and interactive online courses.
University highlights 2020
Responding to veterans' needs
The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services certifies the Phoenix Campus as a Veteran Supportive Campus.
MBA in less than a year
The College of Business and IT launches a competency-based Master of Business Administration, allowing students to earn their MBA faster and for less.
Pandemic propels online innovation
As COVID-19 hits, we transition 6,000 campus-based students to online classes. Attendance and retention rates improve during this time.
Webinars offer help and hope
We introduce a free webinar series to help educators, parents and others persevere during the pandemic and adapt to the challenges of virtual learning.
Free courses for teachers
From April through June, more than 3,400 educators sign up for our technology-focused Continuing Education courses for help transitioning classrooms to a virtual setting.
Career readiness goes next level
The College of Business and IT pilots the University’s skills-mapping model in the MBA program, which aligns and maps select program outcomes to top-growing occupations and in-demand job skills.
To honor graduates safely, we hold the University’s first-ever virtual commencement. Followed by virtual ceremonies in September and December, the combined viewership is more than 90,000.
MHA earns CAHME accreditation
After a multiyear effort, the Master of Health Administration receives Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) accreditation.*
*The Master of Health Administration (MHA) program is programmatically accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), PO Box 911, Spring House, PA 19477.
Virtual Teaching Academy
A series of free, online, interactive events in association with Blackboard™ is offered to help nearly 6,000 teachers and administrators adapt to the virtual learning landscape.
4-day diversity webinar
To address systemic issues, we partner with the National Diversity Council to bring together law enforcement, healthcare and University leaders for "Essential Conversations in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion."
Phoenix Scholar tackles inequity
The Phoenix Scholar, a quarterly research publication of the College of Doctoral Studies, publishes a special edition with articles relating to systemic inequity and social justice reform.
3 more competency-based degrees launch
Competency-based MIS, MHA, and RN to BSN programs launch, allowing students with professional experience to complete an advanced degree faster.
Career Services for Life® commitment
To help students and alumni navigate their careers, we build career coaching, resumé reviews and more into every degree — accessible for life.
Our students are working moms and dads who study during lunch breaks and sports practices, who dream of better lives for their families.
They’re adult learners, late bloomers, dream-chasers and trailblazers. We understand the key to serving our students well is knowing who they are.
Who they are
Our students are remarkable anecdotally. Here’s who they are statistically.
Total degreed enrollment
2/3 of our students are women
37is the average student age
How they performed
University Learning Goals (ULGs) are a set of five overarching competencies that employers identify as top soft skills and that University of Phoenix incorporates into its academic programs. Students met or exceeded expectations for each of the following ULGs.
Professional Competence and Values
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
How they rated us
We value what our students say. One way we listen to them is through surveys.
Likely to recommend instructors to other students
Likely to recommend the University to colleague, friend or family.
University of Phoenix founder Dr. John Sperling knew what it meant to beat the odds. He grew up poor, he battled a learning disability, and he worked his way through school to earn a PhD.
The challenges he faced inspired him to create a better path for students like him. He saw adult learners struggling with rigid class schedules, often taking six to 10 years to earn a degree. And it gave him a revolutionary idea: What if he created a university for working adults?
His experiment didn’t make earning a degree easier — only more practical, with schedules that made sense for working adults and coursework that translated immediately to the real world.
programs aligned with 300+ occupations, 80% of which are in high-growth fields
College of Business and Information Technology
Credentials awarded in 2020: 15,353
Providing innovative, industry-relevant and accessible education to solve tomorrow’s business and IT challenges.
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Credentials awarded in 2020: 3,961
Preparing future social science professionals to positively impact their organizations and communities.
College of Health Professions
Credentials awarded in 2020: 3,169
Equipping students with the leading-edge training needed to succeed in today’s dynamic healthcare environment.
College of Nursing
Credentials awarded in 2020: 1,626
Embodying the value of caring, excellence in practice, and leadership in the nursing profession.
College of Education
Credentials awarded in 2020: 1,190
Improving the lives of our students, their families and their communities one educator and leader at a time.
College of Doctoral Studies
Credentials awarded in 2020: 388
Developing scholar-practitioner leaders with a focus on influencing policy and guiding diverse organizations through effective decision-making.
College of General Studies
Credentials awarded in 2020: 356
Providing the foundational knowledge and skills for tomorrow’s critical thinkers and communicators.
Connecting curriculum to careers
In today’s competitive job market, skills can matter as much as a degree. Our career-focused education maps select programs to career-relevant skills important in today’s workplaces.
Our courses include career-relevant skills sought after by employers.
Students can track progress and display their achievements on a personalized skills dashboard.*
Students can build their resumé one course at a time with career-relevant skills.
*Available in select courses and in the process of being rolled out more broadly.
Accreditation that matters
continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org)
carry programmatic accreditation, an additional level of evaluation and quality assurance
Improving student outcomes
From academic counseling and tools that help students manage their finances to our Career Services for Life® commitment, here are some of the ways we help and support our students as they move toward their academic and career goals.
Career Services for Life® commitment
Our degrees come with career support — including access to career coaching, resumé building and interview prep. For life.01/10
We are committed to helping students earn their degrees successfully, affordably and with predictable tuition.02/10
Committed academic counselors
We offer the support students need from day one through day done. Our academic counselors work with students to develop personalized academic plans.03/10
Centers for Writing and Mathematics Excellence
We understand how essential writing and math skills are for student success. We offer a variety of online tools, videos and resources.04/10
We take seriously the role we play in providing resources to help our students manage their finances responsibly. We offer memberships to iGrad® at no additional cost.
iGrad is a registered trademark of iGrad Inc.05/10
Life Resource Center
Our Life Resource Center offers access to clinical counseling services and life coaching — plus tips and skill-building resources for time management, housing options and more.06/10
We offer self-paced workshops and one-click access to tutorials, tips, videos, and other academic and career-relevant content — as well as 24/7 access to our University Library.07/10
In FY20, we offered disability accommodations to 8,506 students. Their 74.7% average 30-day retention rate was higher than students with disabilities who did not use accommodations.08/10
Facebook® Study Sessions
We bring students together for connection, support and motivation through study sessions on the University of Phoenix Facebook® page.
Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.09/10
We listen to our students and faculty through surveys so that we can regularly improve our courses.10/10
Saving students time and money
University of Phoenix is committed to saving our students time and money. In fact, in FY20, University of Phoenix students saved over $51.6 million in tuition between discounts, scholarships and other savings. Here are some highlights:
approximate tuition saved through our Prior Learning Assessment
in monthly scholarship opportunities available to students
Responsible and appropriate borrowing
We offer extensive tools and resources before and after enrollment to help our students understand the different types of student loans and loan amounts that might be right for them.
For example, we offer memberships at no additional cost to the iGrad online money-management tool, which students can use to learn how to budget, save, minimize borrowing and understand future student loan payments.
Average for proprietary schools
University of Phoenix
National average for all institutions
University retention and graduation rates
Data helps us improve our understanding of how to support our students through the obstacles they face on the way to their degrees. It also reinforces what’s working.
For example, in 2020, most University retention rates improved even though some of the students in this measurement began their programs or were progressing through the early part of their programs during the pandemic.
Institutional – Master’s
Institutional – Bachelor’s
Institutional – Associate
IPEDS – Bachelor’s (FTFT)
We believe students should be taught by accomplished professionals. Our faculty members average 26 years of career experience, and over 85% of our surveyed students would recommend their instructors to others.
Our leadership team is deeply committed to helping adult learners reach their education and career goals through continuous innovation that evolves with advances in education, technology and the workplace.
We recognize the tremendous achievement of earning a college degree. Most of our students have worked years to reach this goal, and many are first-generation college students.
Read about Kassandra Spann (MBA, 2020), who illustrated the power of grit on the road to earning two degrees while living with spina bifida and cerebral palsy.
At University of Phoenix, we understand that community support and higher education go hand in hand. When we roll up our sleeves to help, we strengthen the communities we serve.
In 2020, the University gave:
Our commitment to diversity
At University of Phoenix, we’ve long been focused on creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive and belonging (DEIB) environment.
To continue fostering DEIB initiatives, we:
- Established The Inclusive Café, a virtual meeting place to tackle tough conversations
- Produced a special edition of the Phoenix Scholar journal, with articles on systemic inequity and social justice reforms
- Created the Cultural Competence Task Force to serve students of all backgrounds