Increased government scrutiny and falling enrollment at the University of Phoenix may be too much for Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the for-profit college mega chain. The company is reportedly exploring its options on what to do with the school, including a sale.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apollo’s board is in discussions that could lead to a change of control for the company.
News of the possible sale or other strategic change sent Apollo’s already floundering stock prices down by $0.56/share. Apollo’s stocks have fallen 42% in the past three months.
In addition to revealing a potential sale or other measure, Apollo reported on Monday that new degree enrollment at the University of Phoenix had fallen once again, this time by 38% to 176,900 for the quarter ending Nov. 30. Overall, the for-profit chain’s total degree enrollment fell 22% to 227,400.
Apollo CEO Greg Cappelli and other executives tried to placate investors last year when the chain revealed enrollment at the college had declined once again to 214,000 students, a stark contrast to the 470,800 students enrolled back in 2010.
At the time, Cappelli blamed the continued decline in enrollment on the transition the career college has undergone and a decrease in marketing expenditures.
“University of Phoenix is going through a transition, but we’re building a stronger foundation for future success,” Cappelli said at the time. “We’re working to build a much more competitive and efficient university for the long-term.”
The company has since reportedly stopped enrollment at 14 campuses and 10 learning centers.
Additionally, it’s been placed at the center of more intense federal scrutiny related to its recruiting practices.
In October, the Department of Defense put University of Phoenix on probation, meaning the schools are barred from recruiting on U.S. military installations, and participation in the DoD Tuition Assistance Program for active duty military personnel is on hold.
“We’re cooperating fully,” Cappelli vaguely said of investigations into the for-profit college chain. “We’ve taken appropriate action to correct any area where there is even the slightest perception that we are not appropriately serving our students or complying with requirements.”
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Apollo Education to Explore Strategic Options [The Wall Street Journal]