SNHU Vs. Phoenix University: Which Online School Is Better?

Earning a degree online has become increasingly popular over the past decade. Online programs offer flexibility and accessibility for working professionals and students with families or other responsibilities.

Two of the largest online universities are Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and the University of Phoenix. But how do you decide which school is the better fit? This comprehensive guide examines the key factors to weigh when choosing between SNHU and Phoenix.

A Brief Comparison Table

AccreditationRegional (Higher Learning Commission)Regional (Higher Learning Commission)
ReputationGood reputation as nonprofit, selective universityPast issues around marketing and academics impacted reputation
Cost$320/credit hour undergraduate, $627/credit graduate$398/credit hour undergraduate, $698/credit graduate
Degree Programs130+ programs including doctoral degrees100+ programs, focus on bachelor’s and master’s
Support Services24/7 online tutoring, full-time facultyLocal campus tutoring, adjunct faculty model
FlexibilityFully asynchronous modelMix of asynchronous and required live conferencing
AdmissionsSelective admission, minimum HS GPA and test scores requiredOpen enrollment, only high school diploma/GED required
CurriculumProject-based assessments emphasizedBalance of projects, exams, quizzes and papers
Class Size15-20 students typical20-45 students typical
Outcomes51% bachelor’s graduation rate26% bachelor’s graduation rate
Career SupportRobust career services reportedRobust career services reported
Alumni SalariesMedian $76K – $108K reportedAverage $52K (bachelor’s) $66K (master’s) reported

Key Differences Between SNHU And Phoenix University

  • Reputation and Accreditation
SNHU University

When evaluating any university, reputation and accreditation should be top concerns.

Both SNHU and Phoenix carry regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

This validates they meet certain academic standards and their credits transfer to other schools.

However, SNHU tends to have a better reputation than Phoenix in recent years. Phoenix experienced some controversy around recruitment practices and quality assurance in the early 2010s.

While Phoenix has worked to improve policies and oversight, some stigma persists. SNHU is viewed as a more traditional nonprofit university with a solid academic model.

Ultimately, both schools offer accredited programs that lead to recognized degrees. But SNHU’s reputation gives it an edge for some applicants.

  • Cost and Financial Aid

Affordability is often a major factor in choosing an online program. Phoenix tends to have a lower tuition cost for online undergraduate programs. Standard online tuition at Phoenix is around $398 per credit hour. At SNHU, online undergrad tuition is $320 per credit hour.

However, Phoenix has a higher tuition rate for graduate programs. Tuition for online graduate degrees at Phoenix runs around $698 per credit, compared to $627 per credit at SNHU.

Both SNHU and Phoenix offer scholarships and financial aid opportunities. Military students may be eligible for discounted tuition rates at either school through the GI Bill or other veteran education benefits. Employees of certain companies may also get tuition discounts through partnerships with the universities.

When comparing costs, be sure to look at the full tuition rate for the specific program you plan to enter. Run the net price calculator to see financial aid options. Phoenix may have a lower published tuition, but generous grants and scholarships from SNHU could make it the more affordable option.

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  • Degree Program Options

SNHU and Phoenix both offer a wide array of online bachelor’s and master’s degrees spanning fields like business, IT, healthcare, education, social sciences, and more. However, there are some key differences in the program options at each school.

A few highlights of unique programs at SNHU include:

  • Game Programming and Development
  • Creative Writing and English
  • Communication
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Analytics and Data Management

Notable unique Phoenix degree options include:

Phoenix University
  • Counseling/Mental Health Services
  • Human Services/Family Services
  • Computer Science/Information Technology
  • Marketing/Global Marketing Management

SNHU also offers limited doctoral programs, including a PhD in Education and EdD in Learning, Instructional Design and Technology. Phoenix does not currently offer doctoral degrees.

Browse all online offerings before applying to make sure your desired program is available. SNHU provides a bit more variety at the bachelor’s level, while Phoenix edges out in some technology and human services disciplines.

  • Support Services

Given the remote learning format, student support services are imperative for online schools. This ensures students have access to resources needed to be successful.

Both SNHU and Phoenix invest heavily in support teams to assist online learners. Each school provides academic advising, tutoring/writing services, technical support, library resources, and career guidance.

SNHU has a 24/7 online tutoring portal where students can access live tutoring and writing feedback at any time. Phoenix offers free face-to-face tutoring at local campuses that students can use remotely.

One advantage that SNHU touts is their full-time faculty model. All instructors are full-time staff focused on teaching. Phoenix relies more heavily on adjunct faculty who often work in the field they teach.

Overall, you can expect a robust support framework through either university. Focus on accessing the specific resources that best fit your learning needs.

  • Flexibility and Accelerated Options

A major incentive of online education is the flexibility it provides. This includes pace options that allow you to complete degrees faster.

Both SNHU and Phoenix enable students to take accelerated course schedules. You can often fast-track associate’s degrees in 1-2 years and bachelor’s degrees in 2.5-3 years with year-round study. Some SNHU bachelor’s programs feature 7-week terms that further speed up progress.

For ultimate flexibility, SNHU uses an asynchronous online model. You can complete work and lectures on your schedule, with no required live meeting times. Phoenix does leverage occasional synchronous learning with required live web conferencing.

When weighing flexibility, think about your schedule constraints and preferred learning format. SNHU offers more flexibility for students juggling complex work and family demands. But some may benefit from Phoenix’s mix of self-paced and real-time class work.

  • Admissions Requirements

Admissions standards represent another point of differentiation between the two online schools. Phoenix maintains an open enrollment policy for undergraduate programs. Applicants only need a high school diploma or GED.

SNHU practices selective admission. Minimum requirements are a 2.0 high school GPA and SAT/ACT test scores. Transfer students should have a 2.0 college GPA. Strong grades and test scores make candidates more competitive for the limited space.

For graduate programs, both schools require a bachelor’s degree with 2.5-3.0 minimum GPA. Strong academic history and work experience is preferred. Admissions rates vary by program.

In sum, SNHU upholds more rigorous undergraduate admissions than Phoenix. This leads to a more prepared and academically-focused student body. But Phoenix provides increased access to higher education for a wider range of incoming students through open enrollment.

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  • Learning Models and Class Formats

The learning models at SNHU and Phoenix share some key attributes. Courses blend asynchronous recorded lectures, readings, discussion boards, and group projects. Instructors interact through email, video conferences, and feedback on assignments. Courses run 5-7 weeks.

A core difference is SNHU’s reliance on project-based assessments versus Phoenix’s use of more traditional exams and quizzes. SNHU focuses on applying concepts through papers, presentations, case studies, and real-world assignments. Exams play a smaller role. Phoenix balances exams, papers, and projects.

Class sizes also tend to run smaller at SNHU, averaging 15-20 students. Larger university size allows Phoenix to accommodate classes of 20-45 students.

The hands-on, project-focused curriculum at SNHU appeals to learners who prefer demonstrating knowledge through creation rather than testing. But Phoenix’s blend of projects, discussions, and exams provides an alternative model that some students respond to better.

  • Alumni Outcomes and Job Prospects

A significant factor for any degree is the career impact and return on investment. Unfortunately, concrete data on employment and earnings outcomes remains limited for online schools. However, some telling information is available.

SNHU boasts higher graduation rates than Phoenix, indicating greater student engagement and success. The 6-year graduation rate for SNHU online bachelor’s students is 51% compared to 26% for Phoenix. Strong program completion correlates with improved career outcomes.

Both schools advertise robust career support resources and networks for students and graduates. Surveys indicate good satisfaction with career services among students at each university.

In terms of alumni salaries, Phoenix reports average earnings of $52,400 for bachelor’s graduates and $66,100 for master’s graduates. SNHU released outcomes data showing median annual salaries ranging from $76,000 to $108,000 for graduates across bachelor’s and master’s programs. However, both universities’ reported data relies heavily on self-submitted survey responses. Independent data is limited.

The bottom line is that both universities provide recognized degree programs that carry weight with employers. As with any school, you get out what you put in. Diligently pursuing internships, networking, and career development resources maximizes your job prospects.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is a SNHU degree respected?

Yes, SNHU bachelor’s and master’s degrees are generally respected and considered valid credentials by employers. As an accredited university with a traditional nonprofit model and selective admissions standards, SNHU is viewed as a quality institution.

Is a degree from University of Phoenix respected?

University of Phoenix degrees are legitimate and accredited, but the school faced past controversy around recruitment issues that impacted its reputation. As a for-profit institution with open enrollment policies, Phoenix is viewed less prestigiously than many traditional universities.

Why is University of Phoenix respected?

There are a few core reasons why University of Phoenix maintains a level of respect as an accredited university:
1. National and program-specific accreditation validating academic standards
2. Large alumni network employed across industries
3. Career-focused curriculum designed to build relevant job skills
4. Investment in student support services and resources
5. Flexible online model allowing working adults to advance
6. Partnerships with major corporations for employee education
While its reputation suffered in the past, Phoenix continues working to improve academics and perceptions of the university. Its ability to provide access to education and graduates who perform well professionally preserves its standing.

Is Phoenix online college good?

University of Phoenix offers a quality online college option for some students, but there are pros and cons to weigh. Benefits include affordable tuition, generous transfer credit policy, open enrollment, flexible pacing, and career-oriented curriculum. Downsides are larger class sizes, inconsistent student outcomes, and past missteps around marketing and recruitment.

Making Your Choice

When weighing SNHU versus Phoenix University, first examine your budget, desired major, flexibility needs, academic background, and learning preferences. This initial analysis helps narrow suitable options.

For cost-conscious learners who value open enrollment and varied class formats, Phoenix is a strong fit. Professionals needing flexible pacing and project-based curricula favor SNHU. Look for the environment that best caters to your circumstances and education goals.

Focus on finding the right program, structure, and support system for your needs – regardless of school prestige. Graduating with relevant skills, hands-on experience, and professional connections matters most for career success.

Leverage all resources each university provides to become a strong candidate in your field.

With diligent self-examination and research, you can determine if SNHU or Phoenix aligns better with your aspirations. The key is matching your individual strengths and interests with the environment that empowers you to reach your full potential.

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