Apollo Group Already Fighting Back Against Federal Report Expected Monday

In an attempt to get in front of what is expected to be a scathing federal report released Monday, Phoenix-based Apollo Group Inc. has issued a comment piece in defense of its University of Phoenix flagship school.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is expected to release the report on for-profit colleges and universities. It is not expected to portray them in a positive light.

In the comment piece, Mark Brenner, senior vice president of external affairs for Apollo Group, said the likely results of Harkins’ investigation are probably deeply flawed.

“Given the tone and tenor of the investigation, along with Harkin’s repeated attacks on the industry over the past two years, it’s safe to assume the report will be highly critical in a number of respects,” Brenner said in his comment piece.

See the full letter here.

When contacted by the Phoenix Business Journal today, John Sperling, the founder of Apollo Group, said he does not see eye-to-eye with Harkins.

“Senator Harkin has his view of things. It isn’t mine,” he said. “I only hope that he doesn’t skew the data and whatever he produces is accurate as far as the data is concerned. Anything beyond that, there is nothing I can do about it.”

Worth $1.1 billion, Sperling was one of five Arizonans to make Forbes’ 2011 ranking of the world’s billionaires.

As executive chairman of the Apollo board, Sperling holds 51 percent of the voting power of Apollo Group.

Apollo’s stock closed at $28.39 today, much closer to its 52-week low of $26.28 than its high of $58.29 in January.


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