University of Phoenix eyes Summit |

University of Phoenix eyes Summit

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

SUMMIT COUNTY ” Once a week, Jennifer Garza leaves her job at FirstBank in Silverthorne and heads to Denver to take classes at the University of Phoenix campus.

Between driving time, class time and study time, she easily spends more than 20 hours a week, “If I’m good,” to earn credits toward an accounting degree. This, on top of her full-time job, keeps her busy.

But her attempt at a degree would get a little easier if University of Phoenix, which is best known for blending online classes with in-house instruction, had a campus in Summit County.

Garza’s not the only one looking to ease the commute. She expects seven of her co-workers to attend an informational and interest-gauging meeting on Monday.

“For my job here, for me to move up any higher, you need a degree in business,” said Garza, who does not have a degree. “I looked into going to (Colorado Mountain College), the way my schedule works with their schedule, it would take me six years to get my associate’s.

“Had I not changed my major three times,” she joked, “it would have taken me three with Phoenix.”

The University of Phoenix has three programs: one that’s entirely online; another where the student attends the first and last class but the rest online; and a third that is entirely in class, like the one Garza is currently attending.

Students take one class full-time for five weeks, a break from the traditional campus life where it takes months to complete a class. However, the cost is higher than Colorado Mountain College, Garza said, and is more in line with state universities.

Suzanne Hyman has worked with University of Phoenix since 1979 when it first started in Colorado. She is now the corporate and community liaison.

“We accept all community courses statewide,” Hyman said. “They can offer them the first two years, and we want them to come to us to pick up years three and four to finish their degree.”

One class is already being offered at the Silverthorne Pavilion ” a masters in arts in teaching class. Hyman said she met with town of Silverthorne employees recently, and more than a dozen showed interest in furthering education through the University of Phoenix.

Hyman, who spends weekends in Silverthorne, called Summit County “the perfect place” to expand in Colorado.

Vail, Colorado

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