CONSUMERIST: 10 Things We Learned About The University Of Phoenix’s Alleged Military Marketing Strategy

Career College Central Summary:

  • It’s no secret that for-profit colleges receive a large chunk of their revenue from military education benefits. To deter unscrupulous for-profit colleges from unfairly targeting these prospective students, the government has imposed several limitations on just how these companies can recruit servicemembers. But a new report shows that one of the nation’s largest proprietary education institutions – The University of Phoenix – spends millions of dollars to allegedly skirt those rules.
  • While for-profit schools often provide a convenient avenue for former and current military members and their families to receive higher education, several reports over the past few years have shown that in many cases these students are receiving a useless piece of paper in exchange for thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded military benefits such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
  • Because of this, President Obama signed a 2012 executive order intended to prevent for-profit colleges from gaining preferential access to the military, such as freely dispatching recruiters to bases. While these rules have helped to hamper aggressive recruitment tactics of some schools, the report by Reveal with the Center for Investigative Reporting shows the University of Phoenix might not be one of them.
  • The University of Phoenix has never appeared to be one to hold its purse strings tightly – allegedly spending millions of dollars each year on marketing events and sponsorships to gain the attention of prospective students. The company famously paid $155 million for the naming rights of a monstrous football stadium, even though the school has no athletic teams.
  • But, according to Reveal, the school may just spend the most money covertly recruiting servicemembers.
  • We really recommend that you head over and read the entire report on Reveal, but here are the 10 things that we learned from the exposé, which relied on statements from officials with the Department of Defense, former servicemembers recruited by the school, University of Phoenix staff, lawsuits against the school and internal documentations from the company.
  1. The University of Phoenix allegedly regularly sponsors events – such as a $25,000 concert at Fort Campbell – for servicemembers as a way to sidestep an executive order that bans “inducements, including any gratuity, favor, discount, (or) entertainment” for the “purpose of securing enrollments of Service members.”
  2. Internal company documents suggest that such events are part of the school’s “deliberate effort” to create the impression that it is sanctioned and even recommended by the armed forces.

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