Chain of In­dian col­leges looks to gain U.S. foothold with North­east cam­puses

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES - By Collin Bink­ley

BROOK­LINE, MASS. >> One of In­dia’s largest col­leges is ex­pand­ing into the U.S. with the pur­chase of one cam­pus in New York and a pro­posal to buy two more, draw­ing op­po­si­tion from state of­fi­cials in Massachusetts about the qual­ity of the ed­u­ca­tion it will of­fer.

Dozens of U.S. col­leges have opened over­seas cam­puses, but few for­eign schools have sought to estab­lish branches in the United States, in part be­cause of the cost and tighter reg­u­la­tion. Amity Univer­sity, a sys­tem of pri­vate col­leges based in New Delhi, has long sought to cre­ate a global net­work of schools, how­ever.

Since it was founded in 2003, the chain has opened cam­puses in In­dia, Eng­land, China, South Africa and five other coun­tries. Add the U.S. to that list. Amity paid $22 mil­lion last month to buy a Long Is­land branch of St. John’s Univer­sity in New York City, which was sell­ing the cam­pus and shift­ing to a smaller site on Long Is­land. Amity plans to open its first U.S. branch at the 170-acre, cen­tury-old cam­pus af­ter it gains own­er­ship in June 2017.

The chain also has made a deal to buy the New Eng­land In­sti­tute of Art, a for­profit col­lege near Bos­ton, and one of its sis­ter schools, the Art In­sti­tute of New York City, ac­cord­ing to pa­per­work filed in Massachusetts. The deal would re­quire ap­proval from state ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials.

“We are very, very skep­ti­cal about this,” said Massachusetts At­tor­ney Gen­eral Maura Healey, who is ask­ing the state’s Board of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion to block the sale. “It’s hard to imag­ine that this outfit from over­seas, which has never done any ed­u­ca­tion work here in this coun­try, is well­suited to pro­vide any kind of ed­u­ca­tion to these stu­dents.”

Amity hopes a U.S. cam­pus will at­tract stu­dents from abroad who want to gain the pres­tige that comes with study­ing in the United States. It also hopes to forge re­search part­ner­ships with other col­leges, and to con­nect for­eign schol­ars with their coun­ter­parts here.

“We have a global vi­sion for ed­u­ca­tion, a model of ed­u­ca­tion which al­lows for stu­dent mo­bil­ity, fac­ulty col­lab­o­ra­tion and re­search col­lab­o­ra­tion,” said Aseem Chauhan, Amity’s chan­cel­lor. “We be­lieve that the lead­ers of to­mor­row will be those who have per­spec­tives from dif­fer­ent parts of the world.”

Owned by a non­profit com­pany, the chain of­fers bach­e­lor’s and grad­u­ate de­grees in a range of fields, from art to en­gi­neer­ing.

COLLIN BINK­LEY — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Shrubs rest near The New Eng­land In­sti­tute of Art, in Brook­line, Mass. A chain of univer­si­ties in In­dia has pro­posed to buy two for-profit art schools in the U.S., one near Bos­ton and one in New York City, and also bought a Long Is­land branch cam­pus of St. John’s Univer­sity in Septem­ber.

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