How valuable is a degree from the University of Phoenix? Well, it depends. One of the downsides of getting a degree from a for-profit university that has not been around for a very long is that the value of the degree can vary drastically. If Yale is in the news for some sort of scandal is hardly going to diminish the value of their degree Erie it on the other hand if University of Phoenix is in the news because of a scandal they can have a huge impact on how their graduates are perceived.
Why is this? Why can the value of the University of Phoenix degree go up and down dramatically on the value of a Yale degree is more stable? Yale has a very long history in the United States. This history helps smooth out its reputation. If there’s a scandal today it is less of a big deal because there are centuries of history behind the college. University of Phoenix on the other hand does not have this long-term history. That means anything that occurs that might diminish the value of a degree today represents a very large proportion of what the general public knows about the school. Worse still it can be the main thing that they know about the school. Everyone has heard of Yale University outside of a new story reflecting them in a poor light. University of Phoenix on the other hand is a little bit different. While many people may have heard of University of Phoenix a single negative news story is going to carry much greater weight because it represents a much larger portion of what that person knows about the University of Phoenix.
Also top universities have a reputation that’s based on the people who have graduated from there. When someone is running for Senate or president and you hear that they graduated from Yale University that goes into part of your understanding of the academic quality of the school. On the other hand you’re very unlikely to see someone running for president who graduated from University of Phoenix. That simply is not University of Phoenix’s market. This permits the University of Phoenix at a disadvantage because they are not associated with the big names that more traditional universities are.
This isn’t to say that Phoenix doesn’t offer any value. I’ve seen several people who have graduated from the program who feel like it was a good investment of their time and money. On the other hand you need to be very careful in understanding what role your degree will play throughout your career. If you simply need a Masters degree in order to move up to the next level of pay at your current job it might be a good option. If you’re trying to use your education as a selling point over the course of your career you may want to choose a school with less volatility of reputation.