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For many working adults, a college degree is not about campus life and throwing frisbees on the quad. Instead, they are looking to get the educational background and the degree requirements they need to apply for careers that can provide them with upward mobility and the promise of a better life for themselves and their families. Working adults, particularly working parents, cannot simply hit pause on their lives while they pursue a new degree or certificate program. They have bills to pay and kids to support, and they need a program that allows them to continue working and to take classes at times that work within their busy life schedules.
University of Phoenix is designed to meet the needs of nontraditional college students including working adults, parents, military service members and veterans. While meeting stringent accreditation requirements and providing top-notch, experienced faculty, University of Phoenix maintains its commitment to providing an online, flexible and affordable higher education experience to help working adults achieve their degrees and pursue their goals.
A School Designed for Nontraditional Learners
Regardless of a student’s background or previous educational experience, University of Phoenix has developed programs, including a comprehensive core curriculum, that ensures every student can have the knowledge they need to succeed with college-level work. These include courses like Quantitative Reasoning, a math class that focuses on the practical applications of math concepts such as budgeting and investing that support personal financial wellbeing.
Instructors at University of Phoenix understand that many students may have had difficulty in these subjects in the past, so they make sure that everyone begins with the basic concepts they need. “This journey, especially in the introductory math, is so psychological,” says Jacquelyn Kelly, PhD, associate dean of the College of General Studies at University of Phoenix. “The students have the capacity to complete these things…It’s just overcoming the thoughts and perceptions we’ve created about ourselves to be able to do it and get out of our own way.”
Students from nontraditional backgrounds or who have struggled with school in the past can find a place of belonging at University of Phoenix. The vast majority of enrolled students (83.4 percent) are working while pursuing their degrees, according to the University’s 2020 Academic Annual Report, and the average student age is 37. Two-thirds of University of Phoenix students identify as ethnic minorities, and 59 percent are first-generation college students.
Expertise in Online Learning
Where other schools had to scramble to adapt from classroom to online learning during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Phoenix had a long history of providing an online learning experience for its more than 80,000 enrolled students, giving the school a distinct advantage. Not only did University of Phoenix students maintain their coursework during the pandemic, but throughout 2020, retention rates actually improved according to the Annual Report. These findings suggested that the University provided students with the instruction and support they needed to maintain their studies even during hard times.
Schools at all levels across the country turned to University of Phoenix for their expertise and best practices around virtual learning as they moved their own classrooms online. In response, the University launched the Alliance for Virtual Learning in collaboration with Blackboard. This provided a series of free webinars for educators on topics related to virtual learning including providing equitable access to all students, keeping students connected with teachers and one another, communicating with families, serving special needs populations; and measuring evidence of student learning. “We knew that our long history and expertise in online and remote learning should be shared with our colleagues in education,” said former University of Phoenix President Peter Cohen.
Online Degree Programs Backed by Rigorous Standards and 40+ Years of Accreditation
It took a pandemic for many to realize the numerous benefits of online learning and how adjustments could be made to allow people to work and learn from home, reducing cost, commuting time and exposure to circulating viruses. But University of Phoenix and its hundreds of thousands of students and alumni have long understood that online learning offers major advantages to in-person instruction. This format gives students the opportunity to pursue and complete degree programs more affordably as well as with greater flexibility and freedom to maintain their existing jobs and family lives.
Although attitudes around online learning are finally starting to shift, some still wonder if an online university degree is just as legitimate as an in-person degree. To those skeptics, University of Phoenix can point to its history. University of Phoenix has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and its predecessor since 1978. That accreditation tells prospective students that the University has been thoroughly vetted by external reviewers across a series of metrics including faculty, student support services, finances, facilities, curricula and student learning outcomes. This accreditation ensures that University of Phoenix students qualify for federal loans and grants.
Any remaining questions prospective students might have about University of Phoenix meeting the same high standards of all accredited institutions can be answered by visiting the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education’s accreditation database or by browsing the CHEA database of institutions, programs and accreditors.
Maximum Credits for Work Skills, Life Experiences and Transferring Students
The online education model at University of Phoenix not only ensures maximum flexibility for working adults and nontraditional students but also allows the University to keep costs lower. At most colleges, costs rise year to year, but University of Phoenix locks in tuition rates when students begin their degree programs, with one set fee per course and multiple ways to pay.
The University has also taken a progressive approach to scholarships. Instead of only being eligible for a handful of chosen students, University of Phoenix has made scholarships available for everyone. The University offers a $1M monthly scholarship commitment that ensures every qualifying new student is eligible for up to $3,000 beginning with their first course. Students who transfer receive maximum eligible credits and are also eligible for a $3,000 Transfer Student Scholarship, provided that they are continuously enrolled and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. John Woods, Ph.D., chief academic officer and provost of University of Phoenix, explaining the University’s approach, said, “Scholarships offer significant opportunity and hope to individuals seeking a pathway to higher education.”
University of Phoenix makes it easy for incoming students to turn their prior work and life experience into college credits and to further reduce costs by providing non-traditional credits through Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs). PLAs are offered for a number of skills gained in professional and service settings including industry IT certifications, military service, police academy training and real estate licenses. Parents and others who have honed organizational, communication and people skills through their life work are also eligible for transfer credits via PLAs. These students are able to submit journal entries to qualify for PLA credits, which are offered for skills such as stress management, parenting and communicating in a virtual workplace. Sixty-five percent of University of Phoenix undergraduate students are eligible for PLA credits.
Students who have already earned an associate degree at a participating community college will find it easy to continue into higher degree programs at University of Phoenix thanks to the 3+1 Transfer Pathway Program. The initiative allows students to transfer up to 87 credits toward a bachelor’s degree program, equivalent to three years, and to complete their program in just 14 months, saving students $1,220 in college costs.
Supporting Military Service Members and Tribal Students at University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix remains committed to military service members, veterans and their families, and there are a number of ways that these individuals can reduce the cost of college at the University. Active duty military and their spouses are eligible for reduced tuition rates at University of Phoenix as well as a resource fee waiver.
The University also helps service members to utilize their G.I. Bill benefits to reduce the cost of tuition, and any military members who are interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Management at the University are eligible to transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree. For military police members, there’s a new University of Phoenix Military Police Regimental Association Scholarship, a full scholarship given annually to one prospective student.
To support tribal students, University of Phoenix launched the Tribal Operations Team in 2020. Through this program, University enrollment specialists work directly with tribal leaders to support tribal students in applying for financial aid and guide them through their initial classes to boost their confidence and help them stay on track academically. “It is our goal to give these students the confidence and tools they need to succeed by helping to prepare them for college classes and manage work-school-family life balance,” said Patrick Horning, National Tribal Strategic Alliance Executive at University of Phoenix.
A School Designed for Student Success
University of Phoenix is designed to support students through their academic journeys so that they can acquire the skills and degrees they need to succeed in the workforce. The focus of the University’s degree and certificate programs is to prepare adult learners with practical skills for career success.
The available degree programs at University of Phoenix align with over 300 occupations, 80 percent of which are in high-growth fields. Students looking to pursue opportunities in a chosen field or transition into a new job can feel confident that these programs will prepare them for their chosen career. This includes undergraduate and graduate degree programs in IT and cybersecurity, business, social science, nursing and education.
To ensure that students have the best opportunity to learn from experts in their fields, University of Phoenix brings in faculty with significant industry experience. According to the University’s 2020 Annual Academic Report, faculty had an average 26.9 years of professional experience and an average 13.6 years of University of Phoenix teaching experience. Many University faculty hold high-level roles in their industries including as directors, presidents, vice presidents and chief executive officers. And the faculty are highly rated by students for their instruction and career insights. Eighty-five percent of students say they would recommend their instructors to others.
Additional Resources Supporting Student Success
Beyond its accredited degree programs and skill-aligned learning opportunities in the virtual classroom, University of Phoenix offers many supportive resources that help students and alumni make connections, find employment, improve their resumes and receive mental health and other forms of support and social connection. The University’s Career Hub helps students to identify the right career path for their interests and how those align with specific degree programs.
As many students are struggling with personal issues during the pandemic, the University provides support through its Life Resource Center, a 24-hour virtual portal where students can access counseling, financial consulting, life coaching and peer support groups around pressing topics like addiction, parenting, LGBTQ+ identities and grief. The University’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and alumni is a resource that individuals can take with them wherever their careers may lead them. The free service that includes career guidance, coaching, salary negotiation, networking opportunities, and resume and interview support.
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About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is committed to advancing the educational goals of adult and nontraditional learners and provides maximum support for transfer students to reach their goals affordably. They offer numerous associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs that prepare students for in-demand careers in fields including criminal justice, business, healthcare, education, information technology and cybersecurity. Through the 3+1 Transfer Pathway Program, students with an associate degree from a number of participating community colleges can also transfer up to 87 credits toward a bachelor degree at University of Phoenix in health management, information technology, management and nursing.
Flexible schedules with multiple start dates give working adults the opportunity to complete their degree without putting their lives on hold, and University of Phoenix offers numerous scholarship opportunities, online learning, career-guided degree programs to support students throughout their journey.