Congressman Calls for Investigation of University of Phoenix

A Maryland congressman wants Congress to investigate the University of Phoenix over its financial aid, admissions and recruiting practices. The school is an arm of Phoenix-based Apollo Group.

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings cites a recent article by ProPublica that alleged University of Phoenix admission representatives misled prospective students when it came to financial aid, course offerings and the ability to transfer UOP credits to other schools. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, wants congressional committees with oversight over education and universities to investigate the school.

“The pattern of behavior reported is disheartening at best, and infuriating at worst,” said Cummings in a statement. “At a time when our economy has afforded no luxuries to America’s working classes, to find that for-profit institutions allegedly drew students in with disingenuous claims and sometimes outright fabrication, subjected them to onerous loans, and left them often unusable “credits”, is inexcusable.”

Apollo Group and UOP are for-profit entities and Apollo is a publicly traded company.

School spokeswoman Sara Jones said the allegations made in the news story cited by Cummings are not accurate.

"University of Phoenix hopes to have the opportunity to provide the Congressman with the facts, as the allegations contained in the wholly imbalanced, subjective and salacious story he cites were published by ProPublica, a partisan and experimental investigative newsroom known for “muckraking tactics” and “hatchet jobs," Jones said in a statement.

Apollo announced earlier this month it is paying $78.5 million to settle false claims suits brought by two individuals claiming the Phoenix higher education company violated federal laws by basing student recruiters pay based in part on their enrollment volume.

That settlement involves Apollo and UOP admitting no wrongdoing but paying plaintiffs and the federal government, including their legal fees.

(Phoenix Business Journal)

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