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University of Phoenix releases Annual Academic Report for 2020

By Sharla Hooper

Annual report provides overview of operations, updates, and student outcomes

University of Phoenix has released its 2020 Annual Academic Report, a comprehensive document detailing the University’s pandemic response, operations, initiatives, and outcomes as part of the University’s mission and vision to be to be recognized as the most trusted provider of career-relevant higher education for working adults.

The report provides an overview of the University’s activities and has been made available each year since 2008. The Fiscal Year 2020 edition features three sections titled, “Who we are,” “Who we serve,” and “What we do” and, for this year, provides a overview of the University’s pandemic experience and response.

“Helping adult learners prepare for success in the workplace has always been the core of what we do,” states Peter Cohen, president of University of Phoenix. “During a year that changed everything about modern learning, work and life, we were able to sharpen this focus and innovate our career-focused education in alignment with evolving needs of working adults, while adapting to the new normal required by the pandemic.”

During 2020, the University developed initiatives designed to address the changing enviroment, including:

  • Career Services for Life® with 1-on-1 career coaching, resume building and interview preparation for students and alumni for the duration of their careers;
  • Competency-based degrees allowing working professionals to leverage experience into a quicker path to degrees;
  • Career-focused education linking coursework to the type of skills employers seek, based upon Bureau of Labor Statistics data;
  • Professional development courses that are skills-focused, self-paced, and and designed to provide learners the career-ready skills that employers are seeking;
  • Always-on engagement with online tools such as the Phoebe® 24/7 chat assistant, and the MyPhoenixTM student portal, to support time flexibility for working adult students; and
  • 3+1 transfer pathway allowing students to complete 87 credits at a participating community college and complete remaining 33 credits at University of Phoenix for certain bachelor degree programs.

“These initiatives support our students. They aren’t looking for dorm life. They’re looking for a better life. They’re looking for tangible skills that will help them get a better job,” states Ruth Veloria, chief strategy and customer officer of University of Phoenix.

In a year that brought renewed focus to diversity and social injustice, the report higlights how University of Phoenix continued to evolve its learning and workplace environment through new initiatives in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), such as the Inclusive Cafe, a virtual gathering place to discuss opportunities to grow together in DEIB. The report details the diverse student body the University serves, highlighting alumni stories and experiences, and sharing the contributions of faculty and staff to communities across the country.

While the U.S. Department of Education reports data reflecting only first-time, full-time students (FTFT) that make up a traditional university student body, University of Phoenix serves largely working adult students who are often juggling jobs and families while pursuing a higher education. The report describes how the University tracks retention rates and uses predictive analytics to identify students needing additional support so intervention can come earlier, mitigating challenges to students' degree program progression.  

Responsible and appropriate borrowing is a focus section of the report, including an overview of student loan cohort default rates (CDR) as defined by the U.S. Department of Education; University of Phoenix reports an 11.1 rate which has declined over the past three years and is still below the average for proprietary schools.

The report also describes the University’s focus on applying learning to professional settings, through the Learn, Practice, Apply (LPA) student learning framework, as well as how the University's practitioner faculty have an average of 26.9 years of professional experience and 12 years of teaching experience with the University.

Additionally, the report includes detailed information about the industry advisory councils that inform the University's seven colleges’ curriculum planning, and provides insights on the development of competencies identified as top soft skills by employers that are used as the University Learning Goals and for which student performance is specifically measured, exceeding 90% in all five competencies.

The complete Annual Academic Report for Fiscal Year 2020 is available online here.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit