Knoxville one of 115 University of Phoenix campuses set to close

Knoxville one of 115 University of Phoenix campuses set to close

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knoxville campus of the University of Phoenix will be closing its doors for good at the end of the current term.

University of Phoenix parent company Apollo Group Inc. said Tuesday it will close 115 campuses. 

In all, 25 main campuses and 90 smaller satellite learning centers will close. That includes at least one location in 30 states.

An administrator of the Knoxville campus told 6 News the school is no longer accepting new students.

Approximately 130 current students are currently enrolled in Knoxville. They will be allowed to finish the term before the campus closes. 

The university is in the process of notifying students.

Apollo Group blame a poor financial picture hurt by higher costs and declining enrollment for the closures. The company's fiscal fourth-quarter net income tumbled 60 percent in a recent report.

Most of the campuses being closed in the for-profit education company are in smaller locations. The company says the move will affect 13,000 students.

Shares in the Phoenix-based company tumbled nearly 9 percent in after-hours trading.

The roughly 4 percent of Apollo students affected by the closures will be given the option of transferring to online programs or moving their course work to other sites, said University of Phoenix President Bill Pepicello.

If no other center is nearby, the company will continue courses at other space near the closed facility until students complete their degrees, he added.

University of Phoenix currently has about 328,000 students, down from a peak of more than 400,000. Following the closures, it will be left with 112 locations in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The announcement comes as enrollments overall in the for-profit sector are declining after years of rapid growth, even as enrollment in other sectors of higher education rises. Recent federal figures showed enrollment in for-profits fell 2.9 percent in 2011. The sector has faced tighter regulations and more pressure to enroll students who have a better chance of graduating.

Another factor in the closures: students increasingly favor online courses.

University of Phoenix recently announced a tuition freeze in hopes that will help it retain students and woo others put off by rising education costs.

Portions of this report Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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