PhoenixConnectSM Strives to Become World's Largest Academically-Focused Social Network

PHOENIX, October 20, 2010 – Whether students are pursuing their degrees at proprietary or traditional universities, innovations in delivery methods have fundamentally changed the way Americans are getting an education.  A continual driver of technological advancements in education, Apollo Education Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) and University of Phoenix today announced the launch of PhoenixConnect, a private, academically-focused social network providing students, alumni and faculty tools for greater collaboration, discussion and learning support. The online network will initially be available to the university's School of Business students and faculty.

The majority of higher education students today – 73 percent – are non-traditional "working learners" with full-time jobs. This is the profile of the average University of Phoenix student. PhoenixConnect brings together these thousands of students who are motivated to aspire to degrees while balancing a job and other responsibilities, and enables members to tap into an immense business network of like-minded people interested in augmenting their skills to succeed in the changing global economy.

"As the first university to provide degrees online, University of Phoenix has been leading educational innovation for more than 30 years," said Michael White, Chief Technology Officer of Apollo Education Group.  "We pride ourselves on offering a practical, quality education, and by leveraging the power of social networking, PhoenixConnect unites our most incredible resource – our global network of people – to further enhance learning, teaching and social and professional opportunities for University of Phoenix students."

The average size of both physical and online University of Phoenix classes is 15 students. Due to the personal and professional commitments many University of Phoenix working learners face, forming study groups and creating a socially engaging learning community can be challenging. PhoenixConnect empowers students to extend their network beyond their small 15-person classes and connect with students and faculty across the entire School of Business, regardless of which program, country, or timezone they're in. While classes remain small, study groups have no boundaries.

Even as students focus on their busy lives and heavy academic course load, many have very specific interests and ideas about how they want to apply their learning to a rapidly changing world. Many University of Phoenix students report an interest in becoming small business owners and entrepreneurs, working to solve environmental and energy issues, or improving health care. PhoenixConnect enables users to connect with other students and faculty to focus on these special interests, enriching their academic experience and helping propel them towards their academic and professional goals. PhoenixConnect's 20 communities are already active with lively debate on issues ranging from personal ("Resume reviews"�) to social ("Has technology made our lives easier?"�) to industry-related ("Outlook for Accountants"�).

Launched on September 24, 2010, PhoenixConnect saw an adoption rate of almost 95 percent during its first week.  Now one of the largest globally-networked business schools in the world, University of Phoenix developed the platform to provide students with expanded learning opportunities and support mechanisms in and out of the classroom. Some of the resources offered by PhoenixConnect include:

  • Academic and professional networking with peers, classmates, faculty and alumni worldwide: students can connect with people with similar backgrounds and interests, find mentors and other personal support systems; 
  • Tools for collaboration and discussion with a vast global community: PhoenixConnect users can engage in dialogue with thousands of other University community members through community forums and user-generated blogs;
  • Personalized profiles tailored to users' specific academic and professional interests, goals and backgrounds;
  • Directory of all active PhoenixConnect Communities, public groups centered around specific areas of interest (academic, professional, social and help topics), with the purpose of enabling dialogue, discussion and support from the University;
  • Recent Activity Feed, a  personalized real-time feed that delivers content that users follow as well as the most recent activity across all of PhoenixConnect and all the activity coming from your group of friends;
  • Similar People recommendation widget displaying people who might be interested in connecting with others based on similar attributes or similar groups of friends.

"With PhoenixConnect, we're continuing to use technology in new, impactful ways to support both our online and campus-enrolled students," said Bill Pepicello, president, University of Phoenix. "Our students can now enjoy the benefits and flexibility of an online degree program or campus classes, while also making important social and professional connections to enhance their learning process and career opportunities. PhoenixConnect is an excellent addition to today's ever-shifting learning environment, allowing members of our global community to be valuable educational resources to one another."

By September 2011, PhoenixConnect will be available to the entire University of Phoenix community, a network currently comprised of over 470,000 students, 32,000 faculty and over 580,000 alumni.  The software platform is part of the University's eCampus, a portal for students to access relevant coursework and University information. Students opt-in to use PhoenixConnect and have complete control over the amount of personal information available in their profile. 


University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. During the quarter ended August 31, 2010, 470,800 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Callie Wolk
(202) 778-1055 
(540) 818-9042 (cell)