University of Phoenix’s Curious Take on the Law

The University of Phoenix has 190 campuses operating in 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The school says it has 420,000 students and tens of thousands of employees at its schools of nursing, business and education, among others.

But it does not have a law school. Maybe it should.

In an official response (PDF) to our report on enrollment abuses at Phoenix, the university’s parent company — Apollo Group Inc. — made a legal mistake so basic that, when told about it, a law professor we consulted was momentarily at a loss for words.

In a joint investigation with Marketplace, we found a dozen current and former students, as well as two former enrollment officers, who said that Phoenix uses misleading tactics to coax people into signing up for school and, in many cases, for large government loans. Phoenix has become the single largest recipient of federal student aid, with more than $3 billion from government loan programs last year.

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