University of Phoenix and DeVry Fail, New Open Schools on the Rise
“Those of us in the higher education online marketplace have seen the “for-profits” a bit similarly, as though they had created so much momentum that there was simply no way to stop their progress. Then 2012 came.” -Dr. Carlos Campo – President, Regent University
In 2012, the private for profit online universities had their worst year ever.
Enrollment dropped by 15 percent at University of Phoenix, which spends a mere 17 percent of its money on instruction and 22 percent on marketing, and closed 25 campuses and 800 jobs. DeVry’s stock price was cut in half. Part of the reason for this sudden dropoff is the recession and the high cost of tuition at these institutions, but the momentum of the open schools and the open online education market is undoubtedly a huge factor. The quality of the traditional degrees being awarded by the giant online universities has been criticized for years by business executives and the teachers themselves, and what the market is now saying is there are other options, free, open, low cost options for getting higher education and specific employable skills training that make you a more attractive job applicant to hiring managers than someone with a general degree from one of the giant online universities.
We hear it all the time when we talk to bosses, hiring managers, and CEOs. When it comes to certain positions, they are much more interested in someone who has a proven skillset than some ambiguous and generalized degree. For decades, titles like “Bachelors” or “Masters” degree have been the preferred method for people to signal their knowledge to potential employers, but lets be honest – how many jobs out there that require a college education (or even a high school education) require the skills we are taught in undergraduate college and high school courses? Business owners are seeing that experience and proven skills are more important than degrees. We are not suggesting that a liberal arts education is worthless in the workplace, but that having industry-specific certifications in, say, database programming or import shipping processes or retail merchandising could mean getting a job over the person who just had a general college degree in communications or business. Employers want skills, and the market needs a framework to keep new courses focused on teaching the skillsets employers need, as well as filter and legitimize the array of courses out there that purport to teach you these skills.
“A recent survey revealed that 72 percent of professors who have taught Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) don’t believe that students should get official college credit, even if they did well in the class.” Gregory Ferenstein, Techcrunch.com
We agree with Dr. Carlos Campo’s article in the April 2nd Huffington Post, online programs need to stay focused on quality while helping the general public find jobs and also get employers involved to create a superior online experience.
Cover Image By: chicago-freedom-forum.blogspot.com