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Enrollment Drop in For-Profit Colleges - 4/14/15

Five years ago, the University of Phoenix, America’s largest for-profit university, reported an enrollment of approximately four hundred and sixty thousand.  Today, enrollment stands at around two hundred and thirteen thousand.  Last July, one of the University of Phoenix’s competitors, Corinthian Colleges, shuttered its doors. 

According to CNNMoney, in twenty twelve, the University of Phoenix closed one hundred and fifteen of its campuses.  Once a cash cow industry, for-profit education companies have suffered difficulty overcoming criticism regarding the quality of education and costs.  For-profit colleges only enroll about twelve percent of the nation’s students, but federal data indicate that students at for-profit colleges accounted for roughly half of student loan defaults in twenty thirteen. 

Shifts in the policymaking environment also appears to be working against for-profit colleges.  Last March, the Obama administration proposed new limitations of federal aid to for-profit colleges.  The administration has also been recommending greater support to community colleges.  For-profit colleges often compete for many of the same students who would otherwise attend two-year institutions.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.