June 1, 2023
The $685 million plan to buy the University of Phoenix carries limited financial risk for the University of Idaho, President C. Scott Green said Thursday.
But standing pat carries a big risk, he said. If the U of I doesn’t expand — and tap into a growing population of nontraditional, online adult learners — the university will be left to compete in a shrinking market, for a limited number of college-bound 18- to 22-year-olds. A declining birth rate, dating back to the Great Recession, puts traditional colleges in peril.
“Frankly, in my opinion, not all institutions in this country will survive,” Green told Idaho Education News in an interview Thursday. “Any president who’s not taking this seriously is truly failing their institution.”
On May 17, the U of I abruptly announced its plan to acquire the University of Phoenix, sending shockwaves through the state’s education and political circles. The State Board of Education endorsed the deal a day later — bringing the U of I one step closer to acquiring a for-profit online giant with an enrollment of 85,000 students and a checkered history.
During the interview — available in full, in podcast format — Green addressed a number of recurring questions about the proposed acquisition, and touted the upside of the purchase.
Here are some key talking points, and some new details that came out of Thursday’s interview: