Over the course of last year the government of Puerto Rico has proposed over $166 million dollars in cuts to Puerto Rico University (UPR), which is the main public university system with 11 campuses serving over 69,000 students. Concerned activists on the mainland and in Puerto Rico believe this may open the door for tuition hikes and program cancellations, and students may fall victim to the University of Phoenix’s aggressive recruiting tactics that allegedly target Puerto Ricans.
Many students are protesting the austerity measures that would compromise their quality education, and endanger the higher education system as a result. In this critical time for Puerto Rico, it’s important to show solidarity in their struggle to stabilize their economy and social institutions, and this includes calling into question the University of Phoenix’s alleged move to profit off the crisis.
Advocates sent a letter to Leon Black, Chairman, CEO, and Director at Apollo Global Management -- the investors on the path toward acquiring Apollo Education Group, which is the embattled parent company of University of Phoenix. The letter questions the motives behind their recruiting of vulnerable students and veterans:
The University of Phoenix is currently profiting from the Puerto Rican crisis, by taking advantage of the cuts to the University of Puerto Rico and selling their substandard education to desperate veterans and students looking for a brighter future. More importantly, the relationship with Apollo Global Management makes us wonder how far will this institution go to profit from the crisis while supporting policies that result in the bankrupting of the public education system on the island.
Advocates, including the Service Employees International Union and Faculty Forward Network, also posted an open letter in support of the UPR students to Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, which calls for an investment in public education that includes standing in solidarity with students as they protest austerity measures and go on strike. And they’ve called out greedy banks and private profiteers:
Quality, affordable education is imperative during this time of crisis. The attacks from greedy banks and private institutions are jeopardizing the future of Puerto Rico’s youth. We Puerto Ricans and allies in the diaspora stand in solidarity with the University of Puerto Rico students, and urge the Commonwealth’s government to invest in its public education and stop succumbing to the desires of billionaires.
Students on the mainland who have been taken advantage of by for-profit colleges and universities know the high cost of debt associated with substandard education. Spread the word on social networks:
We Stand in Solidarity With the University of Puerto Rico Students.