The Pentagon has placed restrictions on the University of Phoenix’s recruiting of new students from the armed forces as authorities investigate whether the school violated restrictions on marketing itself on military bases. The move is the latest blow to the for-profit college industry.
Last year, Minnesota-based Globe University and the Minnesota College of Business were placed on similar probation. The schools’ 11 campuses remain the only educational institutions in the state on the Department of Defense’s probation list, meaning they can no longer accept certain federal military educational benefits.
The schools participate in the Department of Defense’s Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding. The program monitors compliance in federal military tuition assistance programs.
In Phoenix’s case, the Department of Defense last week prohibited it from enrolling new students who are using the tuition assistance program. While on probationary status, Phoenix can continue to serve previously accepted active-duty service members, but it cannot enroll new service members who pay with those funds.
The move follows an announcement from the school’s parent company that the Federal Trade Commission has begun investigating the university’s practices. The Center for Investigative Reporting has detailed the company’s strategies for recruiting service members and veterans. The Chronicle of Higher Education cited a letter it obtained that also indicated the Pentagon was concerned about an ongoing investigation by the California attorney general’s office into Phoenix’s military recruiting practices.
Woodbury-based Globe and the Minnesota School of Business have faced similar inquiries relating to student recruitment, particularly veterans and military service members. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has sued the schools, accusing them of misleading criminal-justice students about their job prospects after graduation and deceiving them about the ability to transfer credits to other colleges or universities.