Among the nation’s largest institutions, the government data indicate a three-year default rate of 15.9 percent at the University of Phoenix and 17.1 percent at DeVry University.

A former University of Phoenix instructor based in Michigan, interviewed by eCampus News last December, said he witnessed a gradual erosion of acceptance standards from 2000-06, when he taught online finance courses for undergraduate and graduate students. He spoke on the condition of anonymity so he could detail his experience at the university without being identified by Phoenix officials.

By 2004, the instructor said, the university’s change in admission requirements made his class sizes balloon—and many students were recent high school graduates who needed remedial courses or adults whose first language was not English.

The instructor said lesson plans had to be halted or delayed while he explained basic concepts and requirements to a handful of unprepared students.

“The quality of students declined precipitously when that happened … and the educational experience really suffered,” he said. “I had to deal with an unbelievably bad situation.”

He added: “I had to spend a highly disproportionate amount of time with those students compared with other students. And that was detrimental for the really good students in my classes.”


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