Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
January 31, 2024
The University of Idaho said Wednesday it would move forward with its planned affiliation with the for-profit University of Phoenix in a nearly $700 million deal after a judge dismissed the state attorney general’s lawsuit alleging the deal was done in violation of an open meetings law.
Attorney General Raúl Labrador failed to prove the Board of Regents violated Idaho’s Open Meetings Law when considering the transaction, an Idaho judge ruled Tuesday in dismissing Labrador’s lawsuit.
The university hailed the decision as a victory for both the board’s executive session practices and for access to higher education in Idaho. The lawsuit has been one of the biggest impediments to closing the deal.
“We look forward to completing our affiliation with the University of Phoenix in the coming months and bringing this unique opportunity to the citizens of Idaho,” said a statement from university spokesperson Jodi Walker. “Higher education has never been more important than now as we work to meet the workforce needs of our state.”
The deal is the latest attempt by troubled for-profit schools to cleanse their reputations after investigations into deceptive practices and face less regulation as nonprofits, said David Halperin, a Washington, D.C., attorney and longtime critic of the for-profit college industry.