The Failed For-Profit Expansion


For-profit education corporation the Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, announced this week that it’s shutting down its Canadian franchise, Meritus University.

According to the press release:

Meritus will discontinue offering new courses to currently enrolled students, and the last day of classes for currently running courses is March 14, 2011. While this was a very difficult decision, Meritus’ first priority is the delivery of quality programs and service to our students. For almost a year, the current administration of Meritus University, and officials at Apollo Group, have strived to develop an enrolment management model that would assure the level of enrolment needed. Sadly, despite our best efforts, we have concluded that there is a high risk that enrolment will continue to be insufficient to sustain the required quality academic and student service infrastructure we and our students demand.

The Apollo group says it will try to help currently enrolled students complete their programs through the Phoenix program (it’s unlikely any other institutions would accept credits earned at Meritus).

Apollo opened Meritus in 2008. But the Canadian program just couldn’t attract enough students.

Part of this may have had to do with several years of bad press about the Apollo Group, which owns the school. It also may have to do with the fact that real universities in Canada are quite inexpensive, making the $9,000 a year Meritus education rather unappealing. [Image via]

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer