Acadiana Business

Univ. of Phoenix closing Lafayette campus

by Heather Miller

The for-profit, publicly traded company that owns the University of Phoenix is closing 115 campuses and satellite learning centers, including the new Lafayette campus.

The U. of Phoenix campus in Lafayette,
under construction in August of 2011

Just months after opening its doors, the newly built University of Phoenix campus near River Ranch is closing. The campus, 425 Settlers Trace Blvd., is one of 115 University of Phoenix institutions closing nationwide following a drastic drop in quarterly profits by its publicly traded parent company, Apollo.

KATC reports that 16 University of Phoenix employees will be laid off in Louisiana, also noting that Baton Rouge and Metairie will be the only two cities with a University of Phoenix campus. The Lafayette site, where the company spent at least $4.5 million on the shell and buildout, according to local permitting records, is no longer accepting new students.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the 13,000 students across the country impacted by the closures, about 4 percent of total UoP enrollment, will have the option of transferring to another campus nearby or switching to online courses. Students who cannot transfer or complete their studies online will be able to finish their degrees at their respective campuses:

University of Phoenix currently has about 328,000 students, down from a peak of more than 400,000. Following the closures, it will be left with 112 locations in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The announcement comes as enrollments overall in the for-profit sector are declining after years of rapid growth, even as enrollment in other sectors of higher education rises. Recent federal figures showed enrollment in for-profits fell 2.9% in 2011. The sector has faced tighter regulations and more pressure to enroll students who have a better chance of graduating.

Apollo reported net income of $75.4 million, or 66 cents a share, for the three months ended Aug. 31. That compares with net income of $188.6 million, or $1.37 a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $996.5 million from $1.12 billion.
As IND Monthly reported in August 2011, UoP is the nation's leader of the for-profit higher education model. The schools typically serve a working class, low-income population that otherwise may have no other shot at a traditional, four-year college or other higher education alternatives. But the private, for-profit college system has come under scrutiny over the past several years, and the increased federal regulation is due to the schools' historically low graduation and job placement rates coupled with high tuition that's largely paid for through taxpayer-funded student loans and grants.

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