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University of Phoenix under fire by federal government after deceptive marketing tactics

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MENASHA (WITI) — The University of Phoenix is under fire again -- this time by the federal government. The Federal Trade Commission is now investigating whether the for-profit school has engaged in deceptive marketing tactics.

This federal probe comes after a FOX6 Investigation revealed that the university admitted to misleading a Wisconsin student enrolled in the university's Bachelor of Science and Human Services online degree program.

Schoenke 3Penny Schoenke, a single-mom from Menasha, Wis., says she enrolled in the program after academic counselors told her the degree was basically the same thing as a degree in social work with some "minute differences." A FOX6 investigation prompted university officials to review phone calls and emails with the student. After completing that review, university officials wrote Schoenke an email, detailing concerns that university representatives had "inappropriately characterized likely career outcomes."

University officials wrote, "we sincerely regret this occurred," and promised to "remedy this unfortunate situation."

Schoenke has agreed to a private financial settlement, but students around the country say they fear this is just the tip of the iceberg, especially as for-profit institutions like the University of Phoenix continue to dodge bullets about the cost and value of their degrees.

"They misled me the entire way," says Theresa Nolan, a student from Missouri, who also recently accepted a financial settlement.

"I've just wasted years and money and thousands of dollars on nothing," says Michelle Siebert, an Army wife currently living in Texas.

The FOX6 Investigators have interviewed University of Phoenix students around the country who fear they, too, were misled by academic advisers and recruiters. University officials are still looking into many of their cases.

Schoenke thought she was enrolled in a program that would enable her to become a licensed social worker in the state of Wisconsin upon graduation. But $30,000 in student loans later, she started getting suspicious. Schoenke, required to do an internship as part of her degree program, kept getting turned away by potential employers who told her that she wasn't enrolled in an accredited social work degree program.

When she confronted academic counselors about her concerns, they consistently tried to allay her fears. Other students say they encountered the same problems -- many of them finding out they can't get internships or jobs in social work.

school sign 2

The University of Phoenix is not accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

"I was shocked to find out that there was an accrediting agency for social work and the University of Phoenix wasn't accredited by that accrediting agency," says former student Erin Ingram of Texas.

Many of these students can't even sit for their state's licensing exam because the University of Phoenix isn't accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

"It's not an accredited social work program. It doesn't even come close," says Marc Herstand,  the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. He says if the University of Phoenix is telling students they can become social workers with a degree in human services, there should be consequences.

"To me it is fraud. It is like someone saying we have a medical program and they are not in medical school. It's the same thing," Herstand said.

And it's sort of the same thing the University of Phoenix was caught doing five years ago in an undercover camera investigation aired by ABC News. School recruiters told an ABC News producer he could become a teacher with a degree from the University of Phoenix and be eligible to sit for multiple state exams — but it wasn't the truth. The degree alone wouldn't have allowed him to teach in many states.

schoenke 2

Meghan Dwyer sits with Penny Schoenke as she talks about the turmoil surrounding her University of Phoenix experience.

"It's not even about the money as much as it's the three years of my life that are gone," Schoenke says.

Schoenke returned to school after her husband died of cancer in 2009.

"I am trying so hard to show my boys that you can overcome death, you can overcome anything and go back to school and start a new life. I really tried to do that and show them and thought I was doing the right thing. And then you hit this?" Schoenke said.

Schoenke says she wanted to become a licensed social worker so she could help cancer patients and their families. She says the social workers she met during her husband's battle with cancer inspired her decision. She timed her enrollment so she could graduate the same year her oldest son's social security payments stopped.

Schoenke 5

Adam Schoenke died of cancer in 2009, prompting his wife to return to school.

The University of Phoenix says its Human Services degree is not intended to lead to a license in social work, and it's committed to reaching appropriate education and financial resolutions with students who might have been misadvised about likely career outcomes.

After the ABC News story aired in 2010, university officials started recording calls and paid for voice recognition software to make sure recruiters and counselors weren't misleading students.

University officials say they're currently reviewing student files and listening to those phone calls to determine what was really said to students like Schoenke.

Mark Brenner, the Chief of Staff for Apollo Education Group, wrote in an email to FOX6 that university officials are constantly working to improve students' experiences.

"We are actively using what we have learned in investigating Ms. Schoenke and Ms. Nolan’s cases to implement steps that will avoid any potential confusion in the future. Our review of the records with Ms. Schoenke and Ms. Nolan found a limited number of conversations between those students and university employees that did not comply with our training and did not meet our standards," Brenner said.

When first questioned about the allegations, university officials said staff members are regularly trained to properly advise students on how the university's degree programs academically prepare students for specific occupations. In any cases where students were misadvised, university officials say, counselors were deviating from their training and the university's expectations.

Brenner also pointed to various presentations that were supposedly provided to academic counselors in training and to students in orientation. Those training materials make it clear that the degree is not a social work degree. But students say they never saw any presentations with that specific information. Going forward, university officials say they plan to test students after they have reviewed student orientation materials to eliminate potential confusion in this area in the future.

dies 2

David Dies, Executive Secretary of the Educational Approval Board

David Dies is the current Executive Secretary of Wisconsin's Educational Approval Board, the EAB, a government agency that oversees for-profit institutions in Wisconsin. Dies says if the university did mislead Schoenke, it's a major problem.

When Anthem College closed down last year, the EAB stepped in to help.

Wisconsin refunded nearly $400,000 to students who were enrolled at the Brookfield campus when the for-profit school suddenly shut its doors.

But Governor Scott Walker wants to eliminate the EAB in Wisconsin. His proposed 2015-2017 budget would cut the agency, calling it a costly regulatory board. Dies says the EAB doesn't cost the state money — and without it — Wisconsin will become the wild west for for-profit institutions looking to set up shop without much oversight.

"Typically we find that institutions aren't out to simply scam students, but they're oftentimes willing to grease the wheels a little bit," Dies says.

The EAB is now investigating the University of Phoenix to see if other Wisconsin students, like Schoenke, have been affected.

"Clearly there was some breakdown somewhere along the way," Dies says.

Schoenke says she is pleased with how university officials handled her complaint after FOX6 got involved. She plans to enroll in an accredited program at a different university to obtain her license in social work.

Brenner says a degree in Human Services from the University of Phoenix is not useless. He says it "has value in the general field of Human Services," and should appeal to people who want to work in the "helping professions."

The Apollo Education Group says it plans to fully cooperate with federal regulators as this latest investigation gets underway.


  • Terry Hinton.

    I am a recent graduate from the University of Phoenix (UOPx). I obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting degree, class of 2014.

    Prior to attending the university I had doubts, but the curriculum has proven to be thorough and efficient in comparison with traditional universities. I only wish the UOPx could build upon its prestige and alumni/alumnus by rebranding. Reputation is key; it puts the power of social proof to work. The university has the curriculum to create strong leaders; however the marketing department and the universities mission must be restructured. I have created a survey, please take a minute and vote.

    • Wilson

      Here read this story about the University of Phoenix from a very reliable source. The U of Phoenix has been scamming students for many years.
      The biggest problem here is they are a for-profit organization. They prey on minorities and especially people who come from families that traditionally haven’t attended post secondary educatonal institutions. So sad that people get tricked into these scams. Money and time (years) wasted by people who are making an attempt to improve themselves. While this isn’t like an armed robbery it as probably as close as you can come and still get away with it.

      • Nancy

        Hello Wilson, As a graduate of the University of Phoenix, I can tell you that UoP is a VERY good school. Students are expected to do their work autonomously. That is true before students start school as well. No matter what university a student decides to attend, they must determine what the want to do with their career and what degree will best serve that goal. If a student depends on others to plan their future, they are likely to end up somewhere they did not plan to be. I do not defend the actions of a counselor providing bad information, but I also do not recommend that any student rely on others to tell me what actions or choices are best for them. If this student gets a settlement, then they made a good decision to sue the school for a bad decision based on bad information.

    • Ness

      University of Phoenix is not a recognized college. I applied for this social worker job at the school district & they basically told me my degree was useless! The BS degree was in human services. I was not eligible due to their accreditation, etc. I learned from that & completed my M.A. at a recognized school with a WASC accreditation.

    • H. Ellis Lindsey (@Texas1208)

      You call you want, and perhaps you are one of the fortunate ones, but I know along with most other professionals, that a UOP is a diploma mill. It does not meet the academic standards of a non profit institute where you have to compete to gain entry. The so called graduates a just not that sharp and you can tell they are severely lacking when you are talking to them. Whenever a resume came across my desk that had a for profit institution on it for education it was immediately removed from consideration.

      • Digna Piano

        Hi H. Ellis Lindsey,
        I am enrolled now with University Of Phoenix. I started last year when I s on medical leave. I called UOP for curiosity looking for something that could help me improve my English communication problem. The enrolment coordinator encouraged me to enroll in BSCOM-LCO. I was hesitant because I was scared with huge tuition fees but she told me that I can have a loan that will cover all the tuition fees and even books. I was happy because I was approved with the loan. But last week I was so surprised that I has an out-of-the pocket $1,200 ++. The Finance advisor di not informed me ahead of time before I start the class. Today I spoke with the new Finance advisor and I found out that I’m going to have another out-of-the-pocket on November because my loan only covers for 6 classes but I need to take 8 classes. So I need to pay the two classes by my own. I am so disappointed because I don’t have a job right now, I am very disappointed with University of Phoenix.

    • Yaser

      Hello Terry,

      You could be right about the curriculum but you must admit it that Phoenix is not a complete university ..what I mean by that it’s just online campus with buildings all over the states .. there is no real campus ..there is no research centers ..there is no real schools buildings like actual universities. If you did your online degree at other universities like other public or private universities like Penn State World Campus , UBostonOnline, Washington State University Online, Indianan, Florida State, UF Distance Learning, Ohio U Online, West Virginia Online, Kansas State Distance Learning, and many many more well-respected academic institutions, your degree would be much respected .. I got into Penn State for online master’s degree in organizational change and let me tell you it’s not just as great curriculum as Phoenix but also globally accredited university with huge campus. For me, as an international who lives abroad, Phoenix, Walden, Grand Canyon, etc. all these are not accredited in my country at all. It could be right that you learned a lot at Phoenix, but job wise ……. !!

      • Terry Hinton

        I agree, the university hasn’t harnessed the global prestige – I hope to see the university restructure in the near future. I am tempted to attain a graduate level degree from a notable institution based on classism rather than educational value.

  • Brian Bartz

    I too was mislead. I have a associates in criminal Justice and was told that the degree was an accredited program. I can’t find employment because employers are telling me that they don’t honor university of phoenix as an accredited university. 2 and a half years of school for nothing. I can’t even transfer credits to another university because of this. So angry.

    • John Rajevich

      I was going to the top. In Colorado springs, colorado. I came out of the department of corrections, I had some real hard times while in prison, not the kind of problems some have, trying to figure out what I was going to do to stay out and get what will help me to be a better person. So when I made up my mind to enrole in school, I felt that I made a good decision on the rest of my life.
      I entered school on February 22, 2010, I was on parole and here in Colorado everyone that is on parole you are going to get a 180 day turn around. This is where you go to a halfway house and do what they want you to do. That means one can not go to school. Well I had to serve this twice, which means I lost one year of school. UOPx let me come back to my classes but when I started my core, I had another problem. Which I had to stop go again, not going back to jail but I had to protect my home and wife. This was because we lived in a not so good neiborhood.
      Now after all was taken care of I went back to get back to my education , but now I can not because I dropped out.
      Well I really want to finish with my program b it I can not now because I Was told that I have to pay 837.00 before I can return. Boy if I would of stayed in school I might not have a wife or anything in my apartment.

  • Nicole Liljestrand

    I cannot use my supposed accounting degree anywhere! Everyone says its a diploma mill degree. I Have tried to transfer credits to MATC and the advisor there laughed at me and said “No”. I’m paying for nothing as well. My degree will not even get me a secretary job. Very disappointing and hard to pay for with no job and 4 kids.

    • Lonna

      I’m in the same exact boat. I graduated in 2010 with a 3.5 GPA! I haven’t found a job yet! I’m wondering if we can sue or get some compensation for time wasted and money spent for nothing! I am so disappointed I wasted 2 years and 40,000 on some bs.

    • Loretta

      I have an Associates and Bachelor’s in Human Service Management from the University of Phoenix and can’t get a job making more than minimum wage at McDonald’s. What a terrible decision I made in order to try to better myself. Now I’m $70,000 in debt.

  • John

    My question to any UoP student or graduate is simply this: why? Given the huge infrastructure of state-supported community colleges and universities, all of which are full accredited, why did you choose Univ. of Phoenix? Was it just a fast-talking sales person? Another question – I’m going to bet that the majority of UoP students are first-generation college students who were simply naive about post-secondary education. Is this accurate?

    • Terry Hinton.

      Initially, I was extremely pessimistic; I researched the universities
      accreditation. I was able to locate the University of Phoenix license of accreditation or what appeared to be legit verification ( I reached out to peer group, no one knew anything about the University. I asked my primary care physician about the University. He told me their MBA program was phenomenal. At this point I was still in disbelief, until I looked online. LinkedIn illuminated upon successful business professionals with an MBA from the University of Phoenix. I registered for classes with the University of Phoenix. Half way through my program, I noticed my academic advisor would randomly ask me to recommend the University to friends etc. He pushed the University off as a product. At this point I was working two jobs and had no time to attend a traditional university. In addition, traditional universities are not very flexible; the ability to schedule classes needed to graduate can be a pain. I remember when I graduated from California State University San Marcos, I wasted nearly my whole day due to my schedule. I would start class at 6 am. My first class was extremely early, and thereafter I had a break from 8 to 5pm. Basically, the University of Phoenix offered flexibility. The issue I have is why did the University of Phoenix allow this to repeat; they have the resources to hire those who can help the University remain innovative without flaws; UOPx has our money, why not use it to build their brand and not their pockets?

      • Wilson

        Terry, really??? Legit verification from the very same people that are trying to get your money for their BS education??? You obviously work for this scam business and are sent to promote the school on chat sights whenever there is negative information being put out on this crappy institution. Go away with your useless degree and send your scam messages elsewhere…..

    • keri coleman

      Wow, that was extremely rude. Pretending to know every student to take classes at the UOP is ignorant. With the “age of technology” I was trying something new. For your information, I am a foster parent and take care of children other parents cast away. With a schedule like this and working full time (like most adults do) it was convenient to attend online classes. If my mommy or daddy paid for me to go to college instead of having to pay myself I would have went to a local college. With the economy completely in the gutter I needed a degree while supporting myself by working. Let me guess you live with someone who supports you? Just wondering and with you Pretending to know others and making accusations I thought you would want to be treated the same way.

      • Regina Bicman

        Okay.. But I mean it’s a LOT cheaper to go to an Accredited community college than it isntongo to UoP. Like tens of thousands of dollars cheaper. And they have online courses as well. I didn’t have anyone pay my way and I lived on my own but instead of listening to a snake oil salesman and try to take the easy way to a degree I actually, ya know, did research. I now have an Associates in Accounting (which I earned online) and every single one of my credits transferred to a REAL University with a 32% acceptance rate. Oh and look at that, I saved money by doing that (because again I’m doing this on my own) because instead of paying for four years at a big university, I paid a little over 12,000 for 4 semesters and will only be paying 80,000 for 4 semesters at the 4 yr university instead of 160,00 for 8. Now let’s talk about how much your entirely useless degree at UoP cost you… Yeah I’ll take out loans, sure but at the end of the day I KNOW I’ll be okay because I’m getting my degree from an accredited university and not a dime was wasted. Don’t play the victim just because you didn’t bother doing your research.


    Just about every UW school is cheaper, and most of them have online or at least mixed degree programs. Why pay a fortune for some BS internet college that came out of nowhere? Go to WCTC or MATC, they have a lot of online programs and cost a fraction of UofP.

  • Carolyn Nevels

    I have went to the University of Phoenix for at least three years and was working on a bachelors degree in Medical Office Administration. When I was in my Associates part of the program they had me take all these classes that seemed to not pertain but I was told they did. I graduated from that and three classes into my Bachlors program I was told I would now have to pay out of pocket to continue no one told me I was close to using all my fa up and now after being 43,000 in debt with student loans I can’t even get a job in this field.

    • Laverne Alexander

      I was also told that I needed algebra at the last minute. I was told that I could not get my degree until I had taken that class. I should have been told this from the very beginning and I would have taken it at a cheaper rate. I also feel that they should have taken more of the credits that I brought with me.

    • Tasha McDonald

      I went to university of Phoenix online and was told if I went into the medical billing and coding program that I would be certified upon graduation, I graduated in 2009 and applied for jobs and soon realized that I wasn’t getting hired because I was never certified I was lied to the whole time and now I’m over $30,000 in debt with an associate’s degree of arts which gets me nowhere. I have recently started college classes at WTI in Joplin, Missouri for medical assistant in which I will be certified in upon graduation.

    • Digna Piano

      Hi Carolyn, I am currently enrolled in University of Phoenix, taking BSCOM-CO and started to be aware about out-of-the-pocket that didn’t explain to me ahead of time. The enrolment coordinator told me during enrolment that my loan will cover all the tuition fees. But I just learned today that my 2nd loan of 12500 only covers 6 classes but my program needed 8 classes, so I will gonna end up paying huge amount of out-of-the-pocket again. I am so confuse. If I stop attending their class, I’m still going to pay my loan which is impossible because I got laid off from my job because of my injuries. I don’t know what to do now.

    • anthonyn1970

      It’s true they don’t help while your going to school either , they have no tutors to help , I was teaching myself for about 3 years when going there and I just finished with my bachelors in IT .. Advisors never check on you unless you doing something illegal & other than that they never call to see how your doing in your classes.. EVER !!!

  • Wilson

    Here read this story about the University of Phoenix from a very reliable source. The U of Phoenix has been scamming students for many years.
    The biggest problem here is they are a for-profit organization. They prey on minorities and especially people who come from families that traditionally haven’t attended post secondary educatonal institutions. So sad that people get tricked into these scams. Money and time (years) wasted by people who are making an attempt to improve themselves. While this isn’t like an armed robbery it as probably as close as you can come and still get away with it.

  • Z

    Most people attend these scam college’s because they are “flexible ” and offer a fast track to a degree. Maybe a lesson is to be learned about trying to take the easy way out.

  • Nicole Relaz

    are they just investigating the social work program from University of Phoenix? There are many other programs that counselers and advisors give you advice that charges you more money in the long run. This school does not have anyone’s best interests at heart. I was a student and left because I could not get the answers I was looking for and they kept pushing for me to take out more student loans.

    • Terry Hinton.

      I agree, the University of Phoenix has a poor business model. This model has been intertextualized within the organization itself. I wonder if advisors and counselors are even aware of how they defraud the consumer. In parallel, what about our peer groups e.g. Family, Friends… As I stated in a previous post, my primary care physician told me UOPx had a strong MBA program. When I finally graduated from UOPx my close friend made a belittling remark about the University. The whole time I was at the University no one had anything negative to say, I but once I graduated all hell broke lose.

    • Anita

      My son was going to take classes there,but,the financial aid person could not get the information correct, she even told me that I have 4 children, when I only have 3,two boys and a girl.She told me that I was wrong, that I have another daughter,I asked her what are you talking about, she then names my children and here is what she said ,mam you have another daughter named Jane Doe.I was shocked, then I had to explain to her that Jane Doe is used as an example, needless to say,my son didn’t take any classes and never received any financial aid. They, however are trying to make him pay for something he never received

      • Martin

        No person that has been take in by these deceptive practices should be held accountable for their debt of student loans. It is not fair to pay for something you cannot use. I too was deceived and have a worthless piece of paper. Our government should forgive all student loan debt used for these online robbers

    • anthonyn1970

      There are supposed to have tutors and so on.. But they don’t !!! Also advisors only check in with you when you miss a class or you do something that’s illegal then they are all over you other than that , they never see how you are doing ever !!!

  • Nicole

    I have an associate’s in IT/ Networking from UoP and got kicked out during my bachelor’s. I was told I would be able to find a job because IT was a growing market. By the time I graduated, there were no jobs and employers laughed at me saying my degree wasn’t worth their time. So I went back changing my major to healthcare administration. 2 classes before graduating I was kicked out due to attendance issues, but I made sure I logged on everyday and did my assignments. I found my work and papers on another website that you had to pay for to get them (you got to see a half page of work before you bought it). After questioning them about it, I was kicked out. I’ll never go back and I’ll never recommend them

  • Danielle Hueckstaedt

    I got scammed by university of phoenix as well I was told I was going for my degree in Early Childhood Education and they had me going for paraprofessional education instead of what I wanted and told me that I was going for what I wanted. Then when I called the guy that signed me up for classes Paul was his name never returned phonecalls….I wish I had emails and such to prove that they screwed me.

  • Cosimo

    This is more a failure on the students part not the school. You should do more research before you jump into something. Would you buy a car just based on someone telling you it was new and works? Would you buy a house without seeing it? Then why the hell would you just take a persons word and pay all the money for a program your not sure of?

  • Jennifer Ekstrand

    I am yet another story of how I was let down by University of Phoenix!! I got my associates degree in Healthcare Administration and graduated at the top of my class!! They never gave me billing and coding in my degree or insurance knowledge of any kind and those are the major components that you have to have to get anywhere in this field with even an Associates Degree. I was told it was going to cost me half of what I was charged (I am now over $15,000 in student loan debt) and I can’t pay the school loans because I can’t even get any type of job in that field!! Not even a front desk or patient checkin or customer service representative (even though I have a large background in customer service and office/administrative) I have not been able to find the job I deserve or anything really because of the missing components in this Degree. I am a single mom of 2 special needs children with no fathers in their lives!! I am all they have got and I can’t even go back to any other school because of outstanding student loans!! I need to be able to get student loans to be able to go back to a better school that will give me the education I need and deserve!! I have not been able to find work in quite a few years and have to look to the state to help me live and support my children!! This is not right and I could use any help or resources you could give me!! I had to move back in with my parents, which is completely humiliating when I went back to school (that I was told was Nationally Accredited) to better my life for myself and kids and it left me worse off than I was before I went to University of Phoenix (online) otherwhise referred to as Axia College!! Please tell me you can help a single mom who feels discouraged and hopeless?!! I really need some justice for being severely taken advantage of!!!

    • Misty Auten

      Jennifer, I am in the same boat as you. I signed on with the university of phoenix in 2006 and was promised many things that I later found out were not part of the program. I was told I would receive help finding a job (career placement) and when I called to get help close to the end of my bachelors degree, I was told that they did not offer those services and that I should have been trying to seek volunteer services to gain experience so that I could get a job on my own. I invested many years to the same program as you and I am not in debt to about 72,000 dollars for a degree that I cannot use because I have no experience. I had arranged to take time off after obtaining my associates degree but I got told by my councilor that if I took time off I would never go back because I was just like every other student that took time off and never went back, so after 3 weeks and a call from them every other day I got irritated and told them to sign me up for the bachelors program. Then I was told that I couldn’t change my course study later on after I realized that I wanted to go a different route and had to finish the program.

    • Dana Welsh

      I am so disgusted. I graduated in 2012 with my BA in Healthcare Administration. I have been trying for the last year to get into an Administrator in training program and have been turned down quiet a few times and also, most of the others would not even give me a chance. The reason, because I did not have any of the classes they were looking for. My degree would not be considered a “Healthcare Administration” degree. Now with over $40,000 in student loan debt, I can’t pay for it. My husband is out of work, probably going on disability with all of his health problems and no program will accept me so that I can make enough money to take care of my family and pay the bills. I don’t know what to do. I can not afford to try and go back to school..Im just disgusted.

      • Unterrie Hinton

        I acknowledge, the University of Phoenix may have exhausted gainful employment tactics; in addition, to mishandling government subsidies. Currently, our alma mater is under investigation; optimistically, this investigation will provide transparency. In parallel, we the alumnus should never degrade or devalue the education we earned from the University of Phoenix.

        The defamation of the University by its own alumnus will not help anyone and will not promote our individual brand.

        I am a recent graduate from the University of Phoenix (UOPx). I earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in accounting, class of 2014.

        Prior to attending the university I had doubts, but the curriculum has proven to be thorough and efficient in comparison with traditional universities. I only wish the UOPx could build upon its prestige and alumni/alumnus by re-branding. Reputation is key; it puts the power of social proof to work.

      • Lonna

        I have the same exact degree graduated in 2010 and I have yet to find a job. I’m making $10 as a caregiver. I’m so digusted and sad I have used ALL my federal funds they will not give me any help. I was so excited about my degree now I’m ashamed and embarrassed.

    • Martin

      I too took the Health Admin courses and was told that I could take clinicals for my nursing degree. Hospitals told me no this is wrong. I now have whats called an associates degree in Health Administration, $20,000 in student loans cant pay them, they will probably default and cause me all kinds of headaches. The financial advisors I talked to changed 3 times in the course of this each time telling me different about finances. I feel I was scammed and taken advantage of and now I dont know how to get out of this debt.

  • Linda Collins Atkinson

    Something similar happened to me. I enrolled in the Teaching Credential and Masters of Education program. I was told, at the time I enrolled, that the Arizona Credential was reciprocal with a California Credential and after I finished my program I would get the paperwork to transfer my Arizona Credential since I live in California. However, at ther end of my program, after I had expended all my student loans and was doing my exit review I was told that I was getting the Masters degree but not the credential. Which is useless for getting employment. Then I was told that I would have to take more loans out for three more classes. I told them that was BS I was finished with all the classes I had signed onto at the beginning of my program and wanted my credential. I then went to the credential department of the school district I work in and they told me that CValifornia would not evfen accept the Arizona credential anyway. I am considering suing then school because I am not able to get a contract job and still hve $32,000. in student loans.

  • Betsy Cronkhite-Huggett

    I’m reading this from Michigan. I received my degree from Spring Arbor University. I enrolled in a BA in Family Life Education in their adult studies program because I was a single mom with a full time job. My classes were on Tuesday night from 6pm to 10pm. 67 weeks after transferring my community college credits to them, I had a BA! I didn’t have to quit my job and I was still able to support my kid. I was paying for it with my GI Bill. I only had to take out one small student loan of $5000 and that was it. The rest was covered! It’s the best thing I ever did. Now I’m looking into going back for my Masters. It will be a lot of research before I do.

  • Martin

    I am a recent graduate of University of Phoenix as well. I graduated with a Master’s degree in Information Systems but I am only able to obtain entry level positions.

  • Risell Tachin

    I did my BSA/HRM and BMA, currently enrolled in the DM program. University of Phoenix is like my family, but at the DM level, it has been quite a ride! They cannot mislead anyone, the courses are extremely hard! My degrees have helped me a lot in my career, and I am
    sure it will help me a great deal. Thank you

  • Theresa Hinkelman

    I received my AA with concentration in human services management in 2013 and have yet been able to obtain work in this field was told by my local state department of children and families agency that my degree was a joke it is useless because it don’t apply in any area of human services even at the lowest level positions It is just as useless in the area of case management also I really think for those of use that had to put out all this money for these useless degrees need to be refunded esp since they made me hit my Aggregate Limit so I don’t even have the option To start all over again or even get my BA degree

    • martin westfall

      I received an AA in Health Administration and get the same reactions. Completely useless $18k

  • Jack

    I graduated with an Bachelor’s degree and MBA from University of Phoenix and I am doing just fine. Many people want to make excused for not making it in life. I also bought Donald Trump courses in real estate and that has made me a substantial amount of money and he is getting bad publicity from failures who did not cut it. There are people who graduate from state universities who do not have employment either. This is a money grab for people who want to cry the blues to the news. Life is what you make it. Take the education and do something with it. Some people want to get things done and others want things done for them. Academic recruiters are hired to enroll you and motivate you. That is not different at any school. Use common sense and read between the lines on these b.s. stories on people who can’t make it in life and want to blame UOP, the mayor, the governor, Obama, etc. There are plenty of opportunities out in the world and too many losers making excuses on why they can’t succeed.

  • sandra

    this is just the tip of the iceberg,
    appollo college was in hot water in court practicing anti mormonism,
    fry baby fry

    • Dana Welsh

      So what can we do? I have wasted so much time with this and I cant afford to go back to school with all of the outstanding loans that I now have for a degree that is useless. I get turned down for every AIT program I apply for. No one is even interested in looking at my resume. They see UOP and that’s the end of that. I want to fight back. I don’t think we should have to pay these loans…what can we do?

      • Breanna Collins


        I am curious to know the same thing. If you are able to find out any information, please don’t hesitate to email me:

        The way I see it, we’re all in the same boat. If we row together, we might be able to get somewhere.

  • Terry Hinton

    There is extreme disparity between UOPx graduates seeking employment opportunities versus those who have obtained an education from a traditional institution; a key problem is accreditation, the majority of for profit institutions use the same accreditation. Employers are aware of for profit accreditation standards, this could be where the University of Phoenix can restructure and gain additional accreditations.

    In parallel, I acknowledge the University of Phoenix may have exhausted gainful employment tactics; in addition, to mishandling government subsidies. Currently, our alma mater is under investigation; optimistically, this investigation will provide transparency. In parallel, we the alumnus should never degrade or devalue the education we earned from the University of Phoenix.

    The defamation of the University by its own alumnus will not help anyone and will not promote our individual brand.

  • Tasha McDonald

    I went to university of Phoenix online and was told if I went into the medical billing and coding program that I would be certified upon graduation, I graduated in 2009 and applied for jobs and soon realized that I wasn’t getting hired because I was never certified I was lied to the whole time and now I’m over $30,000 in debt with an associate’s degree of arts which gets me nowhere. I have recently started college classes at WTI in Joplin, Missouri for medical assistant in which I will be certified in upon graduation.

    • Theresa Hinkelman

      “Brenner says a degree in Human Services from the University of Phoenix is not useless. He says it “has value in the general field of Human Services,” and should appeal to people who want to work in the “helping professions.”” I still have yet found any truth to this statement holding an AA in Human Services Management from University of Phoenix since 2013 and can not even get into the general field of human service here in Florida even at the lowest level positions and UOP took the last of any financial aid I was eligible for so I don’t even have the option of going to another school to get a replacement degree or a higher degree in the beginning I was told all the same things I was also told this degree will lead me into other fields like psychology and that there was internship/externship job shadowing, job assistance I received none of this I want a refund and I want it now

  • Hinton

    I have a interesting story relating to the University’s reputation.

    I spent some time reviewing the ACBSP accreditation programs listing located on the organization’s website.Thereafter, I relayed my findings to a friend; my friend attended the University of Indianapolis, I explained to him that the university was accredited by ACBSP along with the University of Phoenix. He reacted with a devastating gaze as if I was mistaken; I loaded the accreditation website on my smartphone and showed him.

    The look on his face made it apparent that the University of Phoenix has a black eye within the realm of academia.

    Tim Slottow foretell of nontraditional students succeeding does not consummate the prehistory attached with the university’s reputation.

    There is extreme disparity between UOPx graduates seeking employment opportunities versus those who have obtained an education from a traditional institution; a key problem is accreditation, the majority of for profit institutions use the same accreditation. Employers are aware of for profit accreditation standards, this could be where the University of Phoenix can restructure and gain additional accreditations.

    In parallel, I acknowledge the University of Phoenix may have exhausted gainful employment tactics; in addition, to mishandling government subsidies. Currently, our alma mater is under investigation; optimistically, this investigation will provide transparency. In parallel, we the alumnus should never degrade or devalue the education we earned from the University of Phoenix.

    The defamation of the University by its own alumnus will not help anyone and will not promote our individual brand.

    • Some Dude

      While I did learn quite a bit at UOP, the cost to learn what I did was and is too much to bear. Their classes are ridiculous to the point that it isn’t an instructor of facilitator teaching anyone, it is the ebooks, and the others in the classes you take you are teamed with that work together to help each other understand.


      You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Melissa

    University of Phoenix targets working individuals with no means to pay for education. They quickly qualify you for Student Loans and enroll you but neglect to tell you their degrees are not recognized by other universities or employers. I am over $20,000 in debt, with 12 credits to go to obtain an AA degree to find out no school will recognize any of my course work to obtain my Bachelor’s in Accounting to eventually take the CPA exam. I am now forced to start from the very beginning and have wasted over 2 years of my life.

  • Tristen

    I am also in the group of graduates who have not been able to obtain a job with my Bachelors degree in Information Security Systems. I have been told by every employer as well as several jobs I applied for, that my degree does not matter. That I need to have several certifications in order to even get an interview with these jobs. I currently make $14.29 an hour as a temp with no benefits. My degree should get me a much better life than this. But I am struggling instead. And yes I have applied, again, to several IT jobs and I keep trying to tell people that my Bachelors degree is equivalant to the Security+ certification. They ALL tell me that it does not matter. All jobs want to see the certification and a Bachelors degree is not worth as much as a certification. I feel like I wasted time and I was so proud of myself for getting my AA and my BS degree only to be let down every corner I turn. I would have to spend hundreds of dollars on certifications in order to get a job on top of my loans for my degree. I really would like to wipe this all out, including the debt, and just start over again at a real school. Just be allowed to start my life and education over again now so I can have the life I deserve and be proud of my accomplishments in my education. I hope something does happen to help me disolve this debt and move on. I will send them back my piece of worthless paper and their leather binder it is in.

  • William Meerbott

    Not only did this school do this to him but to me as well. I took classes on-line for business management and accounting and got over booked in my second year with their A classes that I could not keep up with and the people that I talked to said that all I needed to to do was just show up in class (via online) and they would fix it. Now I am paying a big debt for something that is worthless.
    I really should have known something was wrong when my mother (on her last day of working for the Phoenix Branch) slipped in the parking lot, got majorly hurt and they refused to help her.

  • Breanna Collins

    Hi. I’m hoping someone here can help me. I am in the same exact situation with the University of Phoenix. When I transferred to the school I was a psychology major and I had talked to a counselor who had bribed me into pursuing the Human Services degree, under the impression that it was “basically a psychology degree, but better, with more options.” Through the years with University of Phoenix, there was always a problem. If it wasnt one thing, it was another. Earlier this year, I became exhausted with try to earn my degree with them, because I should have had it already, and left the school. Now, I am trying to begin my academic career at a school that I have the opportunity to succeed at, and I cannot because Phoenix will not give me my transcripts. They are stating that I must pay $1,840 in full in order to receive them. I am a single mother. I do not have $1,840 to give, especially when I’m not sure why I have to pay that. I don’t mean to sound desperate, but I am. I want to continue with my life and my education. The University of Phoenix is stopping me from doing so. If anyone knows what to do, or where to begin on correcting this problem, please contact me. Any help is more than appreciated. My E-mail is

  • ambreen

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  • Wayne Christian

    I attended University of Phoenix, in 2003. I wanted to get a degree in Computer Information Systems (CIS). I applied for the loans and was able to secure a Stafford Loan Only. But due to the cost as the classes went on, I had to drop out. I had to pay for supplies, books, software, etc etc, out of pocket. When I called and asked what the loan was for, I was told it was for tuition. This was a far cry from the amount quoted over the phone. I never saw a penny of my loan, and was never to persue my degree after wasting over $2000.00 on supplies which included books, new software,printer ink, a scanner, and anything else I needed. I was forced to pay off a loan that did me absolutely no good at all. I was totally ripped off.

  • April

    I am a current student with University of Phoenix.In the Bachelors program for Social work. Can someone please tell me what my next step should be. I have loans that surpass 30,000. I need help.

  • Trudy

    I graduated UOP in 2009 with my bachelor’s in business management and am still unable to use it, everywhere I go they say it is not an accredited school. I have well over 75000 in debt in student loans. I would like to go back to school for something I can use but unable to. I don’t know what to do next really and how to even get any of my money back to pay down my loans.

  • raquel

    I am attending UOPX and I feel as they are keeping all my fafsa disbursements. I have attended other colleges in the past and have never gone threw so many hoops to get my disbursements. The other colleges sent them out to me like clock work. With University of Phoenix I have to chase my money. I call my financial advisor and she is never around, I end up speaking to clowns that cannot answer my questions. I am so annoyed, and the courses were bumped up to 2000+2200 bucks, something they left out when i was enrolling. The are taking advantage of the broke college students that are trying to build a better future for themselves and their families.

  • Crystal

    I found out my degree was no good in the state I moved to. Even after I called to confirm and the school changed my schedule around and said it would be for my state when I graduated last year I found I was 34,000 dollars in debt with a degree in psychology that would get me no where. They are very slick and tell the students what they want to hear even if it is nothing but lies. Very disappointed and wish I had a way to get part or all of my money back since a degree from them does me no good. I learned my lesson.

  • Dawn

    I am also a former UOP student. I received a teaching degree in 2014 and thanks to the lack of proper information from UOP I am still trying to get my state licence. I have had to spend more money on additional state testing and had to take an additional class required by the state. I have also filled out a FERPA release multiple times over the last year and a half to have information sent to the Illinois State Board of ED and it still hasn’t been sent. If I miss the deadline I will have to redo many things and take more tests to get my licence.

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  • Joe Blow

    This was ONE complaint. All that is happening, as has now been proven by an Obama crony buying Appollo Education (Phoenix’ parent company) is a shakedown so cronies of Obama can make millions. Obama’s education department attacked and regulated the University of Phoenix to the point Apollo’s stock was practically worthless. Then Obama’s friends stepped in and bought it. Shameful.

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  • cecelia latu

    Can someone tell me how i can file a complain? My problem is that i walked the ceremony back in 2010 and i still needed 9 elective credits in my lower division classes which i was determined to just test out of. Well needless to say i had neglected to do so in a timely manner and i was never advised by an academic counselor that it needed to be done at a certain time frame. Come a few months after 8 years of my initial enrollment, i was told i couldn’t complete the elective credits and would have to start my degree program all over again? Even after all my upper division classes for my degree were completed? I even filed an appeal which got declined? So now i have thousands in student loans and no degree!

  • Darla Martinez

    I was also mislead by University of Phoenix I was told that me having a felony ten years would not keep me from getting a degree in Criminal Justice and would not keep me from getting a job in that field in the State of Texas when I finished my associates. But they never even tried to make sure and I would have to have the Governor pardon it to get the job i was working for. I told them the first day I did not want to start and after I had gone find out i could not get the job and be left owing 20 thousand +. They assured me that would not happen. I did not finish but was left owing 17 thousand. I really would like to know who to get in touch with about this class action suit.

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  • Melissa Popp

    I started going to school through University of Phoenix online because I was a stay at home mom looking to pursue a degree in criminal justice. At the time I enrolled there was a campus in Appleton, WI and this is where they convinced me that I would have a degree and my credits were up to the Wisconsin State code. The credits I received wouldn’t even transfer to FVTC in Appleton. I was lost and still am lost as to what to do. Since this happened I have been through a rough divorce and lost everything. I cannot afford to pay these student loans back and feel like I wasted part of my life and future goals on a fake school. I just want the school to acknowledge their wrong doings and pay back my student loans since the credits don’t count for me and I cannot use them. I don’t know who to contact or where to start. If anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it.

  • anthonyn1970

    @melissa pop .. That school is scam, if your willing to talk over the phone with me to NBC we can get rid of problem , they had got in touch with about the school and want to speak to me now , if you want ?

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    I got screwed by Phoenix too! Now I can look at my “ASSociates degree and feel like ONE!”

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    When I first talked with a counselor I asked if they were accredited. He knew what I wanted to study for and he said they were accredited. I feel lied to, hurt, ashamed, dumb, ticked off, and all I have to show for my wasted four years is a useless piece of paper. They should be punished some how, some way. Why should we pay for a degree we can’t use?

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  • superscarymonster

    I got my associate’s in psychology from UoP in 2012. I worked my butt off and graduated with a 3.96 GPA.
    There were students who blatantly plagerized my answers in the forums during almost every class I took, and I never saw a hint of disciplinary action.
    I’m currently a freelance writer, and I don’t need to use my degree, so I can’t speak on its usefulness.

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