PHOENIX, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- University of Phoenix, a subsidiary of Apollo Group (APOL), today announced its University Orientation Workshop is the recipient of a Showcase in Excellence Award from the Arizona Quality Alliance (AQA). The AQA award criteria is based on that of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest level of national recognition a United States organization can receive for performance excellence. The University Orientation Workshop, launched in November 2010, is a no-cost, non-credit-bearing program that provides prospective students with the opportunity to assess their readiness for University of Phoenix. The workshop is required for students who wish to enter the University that have less than 24 previous college credits. "To earn an award of this prestige is truly an honor. Our commitment has always been to provide our students with the tools they need to be successful," said Dr. Bill Pepicello, president of University of Phoenix. "Roughly four out of every five students in the orientation workshop enroll in a degree program with an understanding of the rigors of higher education, with one out of every five students electing to forgo a degree program prior to enrollment and therefore incurring no costs or student debt." The Arizona Quality Alliance emulates the Baldrige National Program by annually recognizing organizations across all sectors of the economy including manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and non-profits who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in creating and implementing quality systems and processes that deliver sustained high levels of positive outcomes. "Our students have families, jobs, and other obligations. It is important for them to be fully aware of the type of commitment they will take on as a college student, not only in cost, but also in time," said Dr. Alan Drimmer, provost of University of Phoenix. "Programs such as University OrientationWorkshop empower our students to make informed decisions about their education." The fact that the Arizona Quality Alliance Showcase in Excellence Award is based on the World Class Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria underscores its significance and the efforts University of Phoenix is making to assist its students. The AQA is a member of the Alliance for Performance Excellence, a nationwide network of associations dedicated to advancing organizations through the use of the Baldrige Criteria. The Alliance has a long-standing relationship with both the American Society for Quality, a global quality network which advocates for individuals and organizations in over 130 countries and works to improve both global and American National Standards, and The United States Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards & Technology, which oversees the administration of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.