Did you know the University Of Phoenix is the largest for-profit university in the country? I didn’t know that. I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who has taken a class there, actually, which is really just an indicator of how small my world is sometimes. Did you also know that U-P is closing 115 of its brick-and-mortar locations, due to steadily declining profits, which will force some 13,000 students to either find a new location at which to study, or complete their courses online? I actually didn’t even know U-P offered a campus option; I thought it was all online. There’s been a fascinating discussion for a few years now on the subject of whether the internet will eventually make college obsolete, as it has done to newspapers and record stores. (If you go here you can buy a copy of a term paper on this subject, which is kind of perfect.) I don’t know if it will happen, but that would represent a pretty momentous paradigm shift, would it not?
So on some level, University Of Phoenix is well ahead of the curve, as three-quarters of its massive student body are online-only, although its plummeting stock prices and enrollment numbers — as well as its not-great reputation, academically speaking — suggest that someone else will perfect the online-university model, while U-P recedes from view. What’s a flailing university to do? Why, they might start by licensing a Dan Deacon song for a TV advert. The U-P ad below is soundtracked by Deacon’s “True Thrush,” from his 2012 album America. The placement is pretty innocuous; still, I hope he landed a year’s salary for the song’s usage. FWIW, Deacon himself went not to U-P, but to SUNY Purchase, which was voted one of America’s top five “druggiest” colleges as of 2011. Such rankings will grow to mean nothing in this new post-campus utopia. What price progress?