University of Phoenix Graduates Earn More

According to the good folks over at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, those who attend the for-profit University of Phoenix earn more than those who attend traditional, selective colleges. Well, sort of.

This is potentially very important information. The University of Phoenix, like all for-profit colleges, is a career school; the point of going there is to earn more money. While critics often say that for-profit schools leave students with high debt and little potential for career advancement, this information would seem to put things in perspective.

According to the piece by Christopher Matgouranis:

The chart below is a snap-shot of the earnings of alumni from two very different types of schools: those from the “traditional” public/private non-profits and those from the largest for-profit university in the country, the University of Phoenix. The “traditional” public/private universities are a sample of 153 schools from Barron’s Guide to College’s “competitive” schools (there are about 700 total). These are the typical mid-quality American colleges and universities. The salary data is taken from’s alumni median salary by years of experience. The average “competitive” school in this sample had 313 observations and the University of Phoenix had over 16,000 total observations.

The chart shows that the typical University of Phoenix alumni earns slightly more than those from the traditional competitive schools at every level of experience throughout their career.

Here’s the information:


This is a potentially very interesting chart. At every level of experience the average Phoenix graduate appears to earn about $2,000 more annually. That’s not a lot of money, but it’s enough to make for-profit education look a little less, well, scammy.

The truth is more complicated. First of all, the chart appears to only look only at the graduates of the programs. But the University of Phoenix has a 16 percent graduation rate. That means that the average student at the University of Phoenix actually never graduates at all; while he has still accumulated significant debt, he isn’t included in this survey.

But it’s no surprise that graduates of Phoenix end up doing reasonably well financially. The reason for this is simple; virtually everyone who attends the university successfully is already employed in one of those highly bureaucratic jobs where pay raises and promotions depend on education, no matter where it’s from. That’s why the University of Phoenix works for the people who actually do graduate; they have the sort of jobs where they get paid more directly as a result of earning a degree.

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