Possible Probation For Phoenix

The University of Phoenix’s accreditation woes are more serious than the for-profit giant had been told to expect, with a site team from its regional accreditor recommending last week that the university be placed on probation because of concerns about a lack of autonomy from its holding company, the Apollo Group.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools last year wrapped up its accreditation review of Phoenix. In January the accreditor informed Apollo that it had identified unspecified problems that would be disclosed in a forthcoming draft report. Company officials told investors that it would probably be placed “on notice,” a less severe penalty than probation.

But the report, which Apollo received last week, surprised company officials and industry analysts alike. It described “alleged administrative and governance deficiencies” that led to the call for probationary status, according to a corporate filing Apollo released Monday.

“Specifically, the review team concluded that the University of Phoenix has insufficient autonomy relative to its parent corporation and sole shareholder, Apollo Group, Inc., to assure that its board of directors can manage the institution, assure the university’s integrity, exercise the board’s fiduciary responsibilities and make decisions necessary to achieve the institution’s mission and successful operation,” the company said.

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