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Why is the University of Phoenix the Largest Online Education Advertiser?
By: Cindy Wendland
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The University of Phoenix is an online college. Adults who want to earn a degree can do so while they continue living life. Chances are, you learned about them online. In 2012, the University of Phoenix was Google’s leading online advertiser for the Jobs & Education category. 

The University of Phoenix offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in business, education, nursing, technology, and more. They are part of an increasing trend in online education. Founded in 1976, the University of Phoenix caters to working adults who want to increase their education and future potential. Taking classes online and in the evenings at various locations makes it easier for adults with families and full-time jobs.

The number of online universities has skyrocketed. In addition to the opportunities for people to earn a degree online, a whole new job market has been created for online teachers and online librarians. It is estimated that 16 million students are enrolled in online education. Only 1 million of those students are enrolled online in nonprofit schools. The other 15 million students are enrolled in for-profit online schools — like the University of Phoenix. 

Are students enrolling in the schools that advertise the most or the ones that produce the best outcomes? In 2011, the University of Phoenix spent $614 million on advertising with $91.5 million on Internet advertising. 2012 marks them as Google’s highest education advertiser. 2013 figures show University of Phoenix spending almost $500,000 a day on online advertising. That’s heavy marketing.

With graduates from traditional universities having difficulty finding jobs, the graduates from online universities are struggling more. When given the choice, most hiring managers will hire from traditional universities. Companies like Intel have recently decided that they will not pay for employees to take classes at the University of Phoenix because they lack rigor. The University of Phoenix was also fined over $9M for recruiting practices that were not up to par. In some cases, the cost to attend is also much higher than a traditional university.

Traditional universities are now offering more online options, so the University of Phoenix has blazed that trail and helped to open up the market. The University of Phoenix continues to have to advertise a lot because they do not have a long-standing tradition and acceptance. In this economy, they may not get it.


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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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