University of Phoenix president George Burnett has resigned months after taking the post. The resignation came after an inquiry by the U.S. Department of Education about Burnett’s time overseeing Westwood College, USA Today reported.
The University of Phoenix is one of the largest for-profit U.S. universities. Westwood College is also a for-profit college, one that faced tension with regulators over deceptive advertising among other concerns, which closed in 2016. ED has erased about $130 million in connection to borrower defense claims from students who attended Westwood.
ED’s inquiry included questions about how long Burnett worked at Westwood and parent company, Alta Colleges, Inc. Burnett was also CEO of Alta Colleges – but also played a major role in the school's advertisements, recruitment strategies and job placement reports.
"Because Mr. Burnett believes this request could take some time to address, and not wanting to distract from the university’s mission of providing career-relevant higher education to working adults," said Andrea Smiley, a University of Phoenix spokeswoman. "He has stepped down as president and board member of the university, effective June 1, 2022."