For-Profit Schools Turn to International as a way to Boost Falling Profits


As domestic enrollments decrease, increased government oversight and revenue falling, more for-profit schools turn to international as a way to boost falling profits.  Schools like DeVry, University of Phoenix, Walden University and others are targeting international students as a way to increase their revenue.

Take DeVry University as an example. They are not only recruiting international students to their campuses in the US, they are opening schools overseas.  The Wall Street Journal reported, “DeVry has cut costs, including workforce reductions and shedding some of its locations. DeVry also has been expanding its international presence, most recently with several acquisitions in Brazil.” DeVry’s additional expansion into Europe, Asia and the Caribbean has meant that while their overall revenue is down, their international revenue is up over 15%.

A quick visit to DeVry’s site will show you they are welcoming international students to their US campuses.  University of Phoenix on their site, tout their international admissions team.  According to their site, “When you talk to an international admissions representative at University of Phoenix, you’re working with someone who understands your country’s educational system, speaks your language and works in your time zone. Our international admissions representatives are trained to meet your needs, no matter where you live, or where you earned your high school diploma or undergraduate degree. They know the obstacles you face and can help you overcome them as you start your education.”  Walden, on their website says, “Thanks to our engaging online learning model, more than 47,800 students from more than 150 countries are learning online at Walden and benefiting from access to our diverse learning community.”

The for-profits already have very large marketing and advertising budgets and it is only natural to use a piece of that budget to reach, attract and recruit international students.  According to the Huffington Post, at one point in 2012 the Apollo Group, the owner of University of Phoenix was Google’s biggest spender, spending $170,000 per day on pay-per-click!  In the third quarter of 2015, revenue was down over $100 million over the third quarter of 2014.

With the continued decline of domestic enrollments, and falling revenue, it is natural to see the for-profits continue to invest in seeking out international students to fill their classrooms.

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