Monday, May 4, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

University of Phoenix on the hot seat

walters column sig

By
From page A11 | January 23, 2013 |

It’s now called the University of Phoenix. Originally, it was an off-campus arm of California’s Saint Mary’s College – until it ran into accreditation problems 35 years ago.

At one point, California’s regional accreditation organization, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, placed Saint Mary’s on probation and singled out the program’s founder, John Sperling, for criticism.

Sperling reacted by moving the operation to Phoenix and, under its new name, expanded it into a nationwide, for-profit purveyor of college-level instruction, becoming a billionaire in the process.

California became a major market for Phoenix’s offerings, but during the 1980s, the company also struggled for legitimacy because it was not accredited by the association.

The University of Phoenix and its parent corporation, Apollo Group Inc., made periodic efforts to exempt it from this accreditation with legislation to recognize its accreditation by the Chicago-based North-Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which oversees Arizona.

Even though the Legislature recast oversight of private schools on several occasions, it did not grant Apollo an exemption, subjecting it to regulation by the state’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.

The University of Phoenix became a big part of an umbrella lobbying organization called the Accredited Out-of-State Colleges and Universities in California, which pushed hard for the exemption.

Meanwhile, Sperling and his son Peter became major donors to political campaign treasuries in the state – mostly to Democrats – and spent millions of dollars on their pet ballot measures promoting solar energy and loosening California’s tough criminal laws.

Finally, in 2003, John Burton, then the president pro tem of the state Senate, quietly slipped a bill through the Legislature that gave Apollo and other out-of-state colleges the right to tell prospective California students that they were fully accredited.

Since then, the Legislature has continued to kick around regulation of private schools in response to complaints that many reap huge fees from students who take out federally backed loans, but have low graduation and job-placement rates.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two regulation bills that he said were inadequate.

And what of the University of Phoenix?

Apollo continues to operate, but it has lost two-thirds of its stock market value in the past year. It revealed this month that the agency whose recognition it had sought in California, now called the Higher Learning Commission, has told it to expect accreditation sanctions of some kind.

That’s no small thing, since 80 percent of its income comes from federal student loans. What goes around comes around, as they say in politics.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    New Torah being written for Solano County Jews

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    May the 4th be with you . . . and me

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

    Napa Valley College site of Girls on the Run event

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Putah Creek Council plans bat outing

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Vacaville centers hosts holiday-related events

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

    Vacaville Museum celebrates historic pioneer girl

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Chambers of commerce plan Cinco de Mayo event

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Tickets available for Dixon May Fair, sneak peek

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Local governments set to meet

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield police log: May 2, 2015

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

     
    Suisun City police log: May 2, 2015

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

    Suisun City police log: May 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

     
    Fairfield police log: May 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

    Biz Buzz: First Northern Bank announces earnings

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A10

     
    Weather for Monday, May 4, 2015

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

    Biz Buzz: Sleep Train continues clothing drive

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Biz Buzz: Solano College site of business expo

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A10

     
    .

    US / World

    Google embeds engineers as professors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Touching, funny, messages in obits getting wide audience

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Oyez! Town crier at royal baby birth captures attention

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Quakes hit California, but no damage or injuries reported

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    With rescue near, Boko Haram stoned Nigerian girls to death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Survey: States spent heavily to clear winter snow and ice

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    City: 2 gunmen killed outside Muhammad cartoon contest

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Slain trooper’s parents say they forgive suspected ambusher

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Baltimore mayor lifts curfew 6 days after riots

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Merkel joins survivors, US vets to mark Dachau liberation

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Italy: At least 10 migrants found dead in sea off Libya

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Arab coalition ‘reconnaissance’ troops land in Yemen

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Nepal shuts airport to big jets; more bodies found

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Living

    Catholics honor mother of church with special event

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Today in history: Monday, May 4, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Community Calendar: May 4, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Returning home puts far-flung choices in relief

    By Sharon Randall | From Page: B5

    Horoscope: May 4, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

     
    Family member has still not paid for commissioned artwork

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

    .

    Entertainment

    Ashes of ballerina Plisetskaya to be spread over Russia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    New project in US South promotes music “triangle”

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    ‘Avengers’ sequel is second biggest US opener of all time

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    TVGrid May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Wanted by the US, Roman Polanski gets film award in Poland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    TVGrid May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    JC softball: Solano eliminated after late rally comes up short

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    AP Source: Warriors star Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. cruises to 1st Talladega win since 2004

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    McIlroy top of the world at Match Play Championship

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Warriors roll past Grizzlies 101-86 in Game 1 of West semis

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Unusually wild Gray, Vogt HRs carry A’s past Rangers 7-1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Texas the front line on high school ECG debate

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Giants beat Angels 5-0 behind Lincecum for 3-game sweep

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Mayweather takes his $100 million check and runs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Vonn says relationship with Woods is over

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    5-year drought ends as Chelsea is champion of England again

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Montoya fastest on opening day of Indy tests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    LeBron, Cavs ready to take on raging Bulls

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Paul questionable as Clippers and Rockets begin series

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    James Taylor debuts new song about Fenway, at Fenway

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Westbrook, Valiante win IMSA Tudor race at Monterey

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Inbee Park wins North Texas Shootout for 2nd time

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Ian Woosnam wins Champions Tour’s Insperity Invitational

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Royals’ Lorenzo Cain drops appeal, begins serving suspension

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    This date in sports history for May 4

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Beal leads well-rested Wizards past Hawks 104-98 in Game 1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Cable, pay-per-view problems leave viewers fighting mad

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Arthur Martin

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Ora May Bray

    By Daily Republic | From Page: A4

    Lois G. Johnston (Leib) (Bayard)

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Wizard of Id May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Rose is Rose May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Zits May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    For Better or Worse May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    B.C. May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Sally Forth May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Get Fuzzy May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Garfield May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Baldo May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Blondie May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Peanuts May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Pickles May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Frank and Ernest May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Dilbert May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Word Sleuth May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Bridge May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Cryptoquote May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Crossword May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Sudoku May 5

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Zits May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Garfield May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    B.C. May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Peanuts May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Sally Forth May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Frank and Ernest May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Blondie May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Baldo May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Wizard of Id May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Beetle Bailey May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baby Blues May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Pickles May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    For Better or Worse May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Get Fuzzy May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Dilbert May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Rose is Rose May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Bridge May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Word Sleuth May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crossword May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Sudoku May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Cryptoquote May 4

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7