U. of Arizona Bought a For-Profit U. for $1? Actually, the For-Profit Paid Millions to Be Acquired. – EdSurge
The University of Arizona announced this week that it plans to buy the for-profit Ashford University for $1. Well, it’s sort of a sale. Except that Ashford’s parent company will end up paying millions to Arizona to make it happen, leading New America’s Kevin Carey, the group’s director of education policy programs, to argue in a widely shared Tweet that “it’s not really a purchase at all.”
So we spent the week trying to figure out how the arrangement works.
First of all, this is a big deal. In one sweep of a pen, a new non-profit institution will be created, called the University of Arizona Global Campus, bringing with it 35,000 online students who will suddenly be under a University of Arizona banner. That will make the University of Arizona a player in a market that is far bigger than just traditional-age students willing to live on a campus in the sun belt.
Second, as odd as it is for a public university to buy a for-profit one, it is not unprecedented. In 2017, Purdue University bought Kaplan University, also for $1. Kaplan University suddenly changed its name to Purdue University Global, and Kaplan, Inc. became a software-and-services company that provided key infrastructure and marketing to Purdue Global.