Skip to Main Content Skip to bottom Skip to Chat, Email, Text

2021 Academic Annual Report

Our mission

The mission of University of Phoenix is to provide access to higher education opportunities that enable students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the performance of their organizations and provide leadership and service to their communities.

Our vision

The vision of University of Phoenix is to be recognized as the most trusted provider of career-relevant higher education for working adults. The University will earn that trust through our:

Deep understanding of students’ needs

Deep understanding of employers’ needs

World-class assessment, analytics and innovation

Operational excellence

Our guiding principles

Defining the curve

From our earliest beginnings as the University that changed higher education, University of Phoenix has embraced innovation.
Whether we’re aligning programs to the real-world skills valued by employers or awarding badges students have earned to help them showcase their achievements right away, we’re not just ahead of the curve — we’re defining the curve.
Scroll through the slides to find out how.

Our students are working moms and dads who study during lunch breaks and sports practices, who dream of better lives for their families.

They’re adult learners, late bloomers, dream-chasers and trailblazers. We understand the key to serving our students well is knowing who they are.

Who they are

Phoenixes are as diverse as they are determined. Here’s who they are statistically.


Total Degreed Enrollment


of our students are women


is the average student age of new students


report as ethnic minorities


are first-generation college students


are employed while in school


have dependents

Our students exceed expectations

University Learning Goals (ULGs) are a set of five overarching competencies that employers identify as top soft skills and that University of Phoenix incorporates into its academic programs. Students met or exceeded expectations for each of the following ULGs.


Professional competence and values


Critical thinking and problem-solving




Information utilization



High student satisfaction

We value what our students say. One way we listen to them is through surveys.

Likely to recommend instructors to other students


8.8/10 students likely to recommend instructors to other students

Likely to recommend the University to colleague, friend or family


9.1/10 students likely to recommend the University to colleague, friend or family

University of Phoenix founder Dr. John Sperling knew what it meant to beat the odds. He grew up poor, he battled a learning disability, and he worked his way through school to earn a PhD.

The challenges he faced inspired him to create a better path for students like him. He saw adult learners struggling with rigid class schedules, often taking six to 10 years to earn a degree. And it gave him a revolutionary idea: What if he created a university for working adults?

His experiment didn’t make earning a degree easier — only more practical, with schedules that made sense for working adults and coursework that translated immediately to the real world.

Diverse colleges


programs aligned with 300+ careers, 90% of which are in growing fields

Connecting curriculum to careers

In today’s competitive job market, skills can matter as much as a degree. Our career-focused education aligns degrees and select courses to skills important in today’s workplaces.

Read more about skills-aligned programs

Gain skills

Our courses include career-relevant skills sought after by employers.

Track progress

Students can track progress and display their achievements on a personalized skills dashboard.*

Build resumé

Students can build their resumé one course at a time, sharing digital badges as proof of learning.

*Available in select courses; the dashboard is in the process of being rolled out more broadly.

Accreditation that matters



continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (



carry programmatic accreditation, an additional level of evaluation and quality assurance

From academic counseling and tools that help students manage their finances to our Career Services for Life® commitment, here are some of the ways we help and support our students as they move toward their academic and career goals.

Saving students time and money

In FY21, University of Phoenix students saved over $102 million in tuition between discounts, scholarships and other savings. Here are some highlights:


approximate tuition saved through our Prior Learning Assessment


in monthly scholarship opportunities available to students


organizations whose employees were eligible for education benefits


students completed competency-based education degrees in 2021 in less than a year and for under $11k


in potential alumni savings for a bachelor’s degree ($2,200 on a master’s)

Responsible and appropriate borrowing

We offer extensive tools and resources before and after enrollment to help our students understand the different types of student loans and loan amounts that might be right for them.

For example, we offer memberships at no additional cost to the iGrad online money-management tool, which students can use to learn how to budget, save, minimize borrowing and understand future student loan payments.


Cohort default rates. For (2016) UOPX 12.3%, Average for Proprietary Schools 15.2%, National average all institutions 10.1%

University retention and graduation rates

Data helps us improve our understanding of how to support our students through the obstacles they face on the way to their degrees. It also reinforces what’s working.

For example, 2021 retention rates are measurably better in three of four categories when compared with the same data from three years ago. Our institutional bachelor’s retention rate is up more than 4.5 percentage points in that time frame, which spans the COVID-19 pandemic.


IPEDS and institutional retention rates for UOPX. For (2021),  IPEDS - Bachelors 39.3, Instituional associate 55.4, Instituional bachelor's 71.8 and Instituional master's 70.2

At University of Phoenix, we understand that community support and higher education go hand in hand. When we roll up our sleeves to help, we strengthen the communities we serve.

In 2021, the University:

  • Sponsored SHE Leads!TM, focused on creating a better life for Arizona’s women and children
  • Donated to support City of Phoenix efforts in underserved communities
  • Worked with tribal leadership to help Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students overcome educational barriers

At University of Phoenix, we’ve long been focused on creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive and belonging (DEIB) environment.

To continue fostering DEIB initiatives, we:

  • Developed the framework for the President’s DEIB Advisory Council
  • Expanded our Inclusive Café, a biweekly virtual meeting to foster DEIB dialogue
  • Co-hosted a panel of DEIB leaders in collaboration with Chicago United, an organization dedicated to achieving parity in economic opportunity for people of color, to share strategies on the creation of more inclusive, equitable workplaces

University of Phoenix works with employers to create a range of tailored solutions to attract new talent, upskill and reskill existing talent, and retain high-performing talent.

Depending on employer needs, options can range from full degrees, competency-based education, six- to-eight-month role-aligned certificates, individual courses, apprenticeship pathways and skill-building workshops.

UOPX and Comcast form alliance to offer education benefits to employees

University of Phoenix and Comcast have an alliance that helps close the gap between workforce needs and employee goals through education benefits for employees.

The ultimate goal was for employees to see their potential, seek ways to enhance their career and pursue avenues for growth that mutually benefit both employees and employers. “We encourage employees to continue to grow themselves and use this time to find areas they are interested in,” says Dennis Mathew, regional senior vice president of Comcast’s Western New England Region.

Employees seeking out benefits from the alliance with Comcast

Thank you

This is just a snapshot of the work we did in 2021. Download the full report to learn more.