“In the down economy, enrollment has been very strong here,” said Todd Peuler, campus director for University of Phoenix, who said enrollment has grown both on campus and online. “It’s about a 50-50 mix of both.”
University of Phoenix, which offers a variety of degrees aimed at working adults, has seen a 50 percent growth in enrollment over the past year. Because of the strong growth, the university has added programs to its undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as a new learning center in Flint.
Most of the growth, Peuler said, has been in the university’s three-year-old Axia College, which offers online associate of arts degrees in a range of concentrations: business, accounting, communication, criminal justice, education, health care administration, hospitality, human services management, information technology, psychology and sports management.
“Axia is a two-year associate’s program online, and that has really flourished,” he said. “From there, students have the option to continue online or they can go to campus. In a tougher economy when people are losing jobs, people are realizing they need to get some skills.”
No matter what degree students are seeking, Peuler said the number of students who stay with the program and finish their degree has gone up, as well.
“We look at our beginning enrollment and ending enrollment and we know we’ve been successful at helping people come in and graduate,” said Peuler. “Both of those have increased in the past two years. It tells me that people realized the need, but then they’re actually completing their goals.”
When it comes to master’s level degrees, Peuler said he has noticed a trend toward programs with a specific focus.
“You’ve got your MBA programs, which are strong, but a program that is doing very well is our master’s in counseling,” said Peuler. “We also offer a (master’s degree in) health and human services. More specialty programs tend to be stronger right now than the traditional MBA, although depending on the needs of that individual, they’re going to gravitate toward what’s going to make them successful.”
Since University of Phoenix targets the working adult, its average enrollment age has been higher than other universities. However, with the Axia program gaining momentum, the average age of enrollment has dropped to 21-22.