Ashford University is the latest big for-profit bidding to become nonprofit. The university’s owner, Bridgepoint Education, will seek to become an online program management company.
Another large for-profit university is seeking to become a nonprofit.
Bridgepoint Education today will announce a planned merger of its University of the Rockies with the larger Ashford University, an official with the company said. And Ashford, as the merged universities, will seek to convert into a nonprofit.
“They will be able to focus on what they do best, which is academics,” said Vickie Schray, Bridgepoint’s executive vice president of regulatory affairs and public policy.
The conversion and merger will require approval from state and federal regulators as well as the WASC Senior College and University Commission, which is Ashford’s regional accreditor.
Bridgepoint will continue on as an online program management (OPM) provider — a booming space in higher education. The company will negotiate with Ashford to enter into a shared services agreement, with Bridgepoint likely handling data management, course management software and services, technology, and financial aid processing for the nonprofit university.
“As an OPM, Bridgepoint Education will bring years of technological and academic innovation and intellectual property development to other colleges and universities that desire to serve students through online education programs,” Schray said in a written statement.