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