The University of Arizona announced the commencement of the University of Arizona Global Campus. The announcement comes after UAGC received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
The UA announced in August that it would be acquiring Ashford University, a for-profit, all-online university, from Zovio, Inc. for $1. In return, Zovio would receive 19.5% of the annual tuition revenue for 15 years while providing education technology services.
UAGC will serve, “approximately 35,000 students with accessible, flexible, high-quality higher education,” according to a university press release.
The acquisition was controversial at the time of its announcement due to past allegations of fraud against Ashford University. The UA’s College of Education and Eller College of Management both sent memos to administration advising against the deal.
U.S. Sens. Dick Durban (D-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a joint letter to UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins voicing their concerns about the deal and urging caution in proceeding further with the acquisition.
“Without clear protections for students built into this transaction by UA, its accreditors, and the Department of Education, Arizona taxpayers risk becoming owners of a predatory for-profit college cloaked in the aura of your prestigious university,” the senators wrote.
A recent tweet from the Coalition for Academic Justice at UArizona called the acquisition “straight out of Betsy DeVos’ book.”
Nivine Megahed, clinical psychologist and president of National Louis University, will serve as chair of the Global Campus board of directors. Paul Pastorek, former COO of Loyola University and general counsel for NASA, will become interim CEO of UAGC, having previously acted as interim president.
Craig Swenson, president of Ashford University from 2016 to present, was appointed by the Global Campus board of directors to continue as president, now for UAGC.
"Our first priority is to ensure a smooth transition for Ashford University students to The University of Arizona Global Campus," Swenson said. "Beyond that, our new affiliation with the University of Arizona will provide additional resources and opportunities to foster student learning and achievement."
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