It looks like all the bad press for-profit colleges have earned recently has taken a toll on the University of Phoenix. Its enrollment has been cut in half over the past five years, from 460,000 to 213,000. Between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning its stock dropped from 28.04 to 22.17 and is at 19.62 as I write this.
The reason is the bad reputation for-profit colleges have picked up recently. Problems have been reported on for years by the less-than-mainstream press but was only reported by the MSM
, then acted on by the Obama administration, more recently.
Once a cash cow industry, for-profit education companies have struggled to overcome criticism of the quality of its education and the costs. They're the sore spot in the national debate about value of higher education.
For-profit colleges only enroll roughly 12% of the country's students, but accounted for about half of student loan defaults in 2013, according to federal data.
Those types of stats spurred the Obama administration last March to limit federal aid dolled out to for-profit colleges — a challenge for places like the University of Phoenix.
President Obama announced another initiative in January to make community college free. For-profit universities compete for many of the same students that community colleges take in.
What's ahead: The numbers are telling: Apollo Education Group had revenues close to $5 billion in 2010. This year it will be lucky to take in $2.7 billion.