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Idaho lawmakers push back on planned University of Phoenix acquisition

Idaho lawmakers push back on planned University of Phoenix acquisition

Higher Ed Dive

Natalie Schwartz
February 20, 2024
Dive Brief: 
  • Idaho lawmakers are pushing back on the University of Idaho’s planned purchase of the University of Phoenix, including by threatening potential legal action.
  • A resolution introduced last week seeks to have the Idaho State Board of Education reconsider its vote greenlighting the deal. Last May, board members approved the University of Idaho’s plans to create a nonprofit corporation to acquire the University of Phoenix’s assets for $550 million — a move that would affiliate the two institutions.
  • If passed, the resolution would declare that Idaho’s education board infringed on the Legislature’s power. It would further call on lawmakers to review the deal and authorize the state’s legislative leaders to take “appropriate legal action.”
Dive Insight: 
Champions of the marriage between the University of Idaho and the University of Phoenix contend it would help the state expand access to higher education and grapple with an expected drop off in the number of traditional-age college students. However, critics have said the University of Idaho risks taking on unknown liabilities from University of Phoenix, a for-profit college with a checkered past.
As part of the deal, the University of Idaho hopes to convert the University of Phoenix from a for-profit to a nonprofit institution. However, this requires the U.S. Department of Education’s approval — and can often be a complicated and protracted process.
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