Sunday, February 08, 2015
“Dad, Is the University of Phoenix a Good School?”
I may have missed the mark on this one, but The Girl is only a few years behind. I’d like to handle the question more gracefully when it comes back.
I'd ask him if he thinks the U of P has a football team that plays in their wonderful football stadium.
Seriously, I wonder how many people across the country think they have a football team!
And a discussion of where the money comes from for the stadium at various non-profit universities might make for an interesting discussion of where schools put their money.
Also, I think it's important for students to watch their older friends' plans evolve. Most kids' top choice in August is not the top choice in January or April.
An Ivy may be better than a community college...if you don't take into account the individual student. Harvard may be better overall, but it doesn't mean it's the right or good choice for a particular student.
I'll note that I'm not saying UoP IS a good school - I don't know enough about them to have a good idea one way or the other.
I'd be more interested in having a discussion on a school-by-school basis. What are the circumstances in which one attends UoP as opposed to another school? Does that mean the student got a bad education? (I'd say not necessarily. Similar arguments were made about online programs, and now they're common enough not to be dismissed out of hand...I hope.)
I find this to be a completely valid answer on every level. I mean, that's part of why he asked you; this is in your wheelhouse.
For a 13 year old, you could try telling him U of Phoenix : Harvard :: cubic zirconia : diamond. Or better yet, tell him it's yellowtail : Screaming Eagle, and invite him to do a blind taste test of the two (ok, not everybody is comfortable with the idea of a 13 year old tasting wine, but I'm sure you could come up with something similar with a little thought). Be blunt that it's a status thing. When people pay for status, it can be hard to know if they are getting what they pay for. But part of the reason people do it is because simply *knowing* which ones are authentic becomes important.
Certainly a healthy skepticism of for-profits is a start, but there are very few colleges that are currently not concerned with profit. Even the state schools have to worry about it, since we have choked off public funding.
What percentage of students default on their loans after not graduating? What percentage of students default on their loans after graduating?
If it is a law school or has one, can you look up the percentage that passed the bar?
Those are questions I would ask.