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Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, the University of Phoenix is an exceptionally large university that provides classes to around 249,000 undergraduates and 51,000 postgraduates. The school focuses on online learning but also has more than 110 local campuses in a variety of states around the country. Offering classes since 1976, the university was founded by a man named John Sperling with a first class of just eight students.

In the next few years, the school expanded to other areas including San Jose, California and it was one of the first institutions to begin offering classes online. Seeking to expand the university in 1994, the founder decided to take the company public, and swift growth occurred in the years after that decision. In its earliest years, the school was primarily a source of continuing education for adults, but it gradually expanded its class offerings and degrees to accommodate traditional students, too.

University of Phoenix Accreditation Details

The University of Phoenix gained regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in 1978. Accreditation required membership in the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Students may fare better at schools with accreditation since credits at accredited schools are transferable between institutions and are also looked upon favorably by employers. Going to professional or postgraduate school also requires a degree from an accredited school. Institutions must reaffirm their accreditation every few years and in 2013, the university was granted an extension of its accreditation until 2023.

Further specialty accreditations exist within the university's different colleges. Accredited programs must meet certain minimum standards for the quality and content of the degree. The School of Business is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Some of the university's business programs that are accredited by the ACBSP include the Bachelor of Science in Accounting and the Bachelor of Science in Business. The Master of Business Administration also has ACBSP accreditation.

Other accredited schools include the College of Education, which is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the College of Social Sciences which features a handful of programs that have accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

University of Phoenix Application Requirements

The University of Phoenix has an open admissions policy, which means students must meet a few basic qualifications but aren't required to apply with a certain GPA or score on standardized tests. To ensure students who enroll are dedicated to their studies, the school requires that incoming freshman participate in a three-week orientation program. Students must complete the orientation program, or they can't enroll in future classes and remain enrolled. For students who don't complete the orientation program, a waiting period of six months must be observed before the student can apply again for admission.

In addition to a GED or high school diploma, students must also be at least 16-years-old at the time of application if the student wants to enroll in an associate's degree program. Prospective student must also never have been expelled from a prior program and be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. Students with visas are also eligible to apply. Some states also have specific eligibility requirements, so students should speak with an admissions counselor prior to submitting an application to ensure he or she meets all enrollment requirements.

For master's degrees, students must possess an undergraduate degree from an approved college that has regional or national accreditation, as well as a GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Application to a doctoral program requires that students have a graduate degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students seeking a degree from the University of Phoenix's online campus will pay an estimated $41,546 for tuition over the course of four years for a bachelor's degree. Tuition for the 2013 to 2014 school year was $10,878 with around $700 of that amount paid to standard fees. In the past several years, the university has kept its tuition rates at a fairly consistent level and has even reduced its tuition in some cases. This is in contrast to most schools which have greatly increased tuition over the past decade.

Students enrolled at the University of Phoenix are eligible for financial aid, and may apply for federal grants and loans, as well as private loans and scholarships from various sources. Students should submit their FAFSA form in advance of application to the university to ensure eligibility for federal financial aid. For additional funding, it's also recommended that students perform a state-specific search for financial aid and scholarships available in the student's state of residence.

Trying Business Classes from the University of Phoenix

An interesting feature of the university's programs is the risk-free trial period they offer each student. The university gives students three weeks to begin their first class to determine whether the school is an appropriate fit for the student's needs. For students interested in starting their own business or working in business, two degrees to consider include the Master of Business Administration and the bachelor's degree in business. Students benefit from a curriculum accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

The undergraduate degree in business at the University of Phoenix is designed as a broad degree that will cover topics like marketing, accounting, and information systems. The school hires faculty who work in the fields they teach, so students receive instruction from teachers with real-world experience. One of the neat aspects of the degree is the opportunity to earn a business-centric certificate along the way. The school offers certificates on interesting topics like Hospitality Management, Sales Management, and Digital Marketing. Students may also choose to earn an associate's degree in addition to a bachelor's degree, which helps a student further specialize in an area of his or her choosing.

For students interested in the advanced MBA degree, the program is designed to focus on managerial competencies and advanced concepts presented on standardized graduate business tests. Some of the program outcomes include being able to manage, develop, and motivate employees to reach their goals and being able to leverage technology to take advantage of business solutions in a global environment. For this University of Phoenix degree, students must take 36 credit hours of business core classes, as well as 15 additional courses for a concentration of the student's choosing.

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