I am a Phoenix. Similar to the bird that emerges from the ashes, so too has the value of my education. Or so one would think considering the massive growth and sustained profitability my alma matter has proven. Many years ago when I was still young and naive, I found it difficult not to resent the jabs that people and the media took at my school. Words and phrases such as 'diploma mill' and 'second-rate college' were thrown around freely, and I admit, at times it worried me. At the time, which was approximately around the mid-90's, nontraditional education was still misunderstood. Traditional educators balked at anything nontraditional, it seemed.
Fast forward about fifteen or so years and I stumble across an article such as the one posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education today - For-Profit Colleges Change Higher Education's Landscape. An institution that started with opposition from the very beginning has proven to be a driving force in the landscape of not just nontraditional higher ed, but in higher ed as a whole. 30+ successful years with an average of 9% increased enrollment every year is solid proof of that.
Honestly, it simply blows my mind that enrollment at University of Phoenix now tops over 455,000 students. It is a feat not easily accomplished and not reached without obstacles and challenges. No other U.S.-based universities can claim this type of success, and for that, I'm proud to be a Phoenix.