In­dian univer­sity with­draws from plan to buy 2 U.S. cam­puses in N.Y., Bos­ton

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

BOS­TON >> Af­ter fac­ing scru­tiny from state of­fi­cials in Mas­sachusetts, a chain of col­leges based in In­dia has can­celed its plans to buy two U.S. for-profit col­leges.

The Amity Univer­sity chain filed pa­per­work in July propos­ing to buy the New Eng­land In­sti­tute of Art, lo­cated near Bos­ton, and the Art In­sti­tute of New York City, which are now owned by the Pitts­burgh­based Ed­u­ca­tion Man­age­ment Corp. The deal would have helped Amity gain a foothold in the U.S. amid the chain’s global ex­pan­sion.

But Ed­u­ca­tion Man­age­ment Corp. of­fi­cials said Tues­day that Amity has with­drawn from the pro­posed sale. Anne Dean, a spokes­woman for the cor­po­ra­tion, would not say why the deal fell through. Of­fi­cials from Amity, which is based in New Delhi, did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests seek­ing com­ment.

The sale would have re­quired ap­proval from state of­fi­cials in Mas­sachusetts, but some had said they were skep­ti­cal of the chain, say­ing it had no track record in the U.S.

In Septem­ber, the state’s Depart­ment of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion sent a let­ter to the New Eng­land In­sti­tute of Art ask­ing what steps had been taken to en­sure that Amity would pro­vide a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and whether the chain had the fi­nances to sup­port it. Depart­ment of­fi­cials said they didn’t re­ceive a for­mal re­sponse and hadn’t been no­ti­fied that the sale was can­celed.

The school pro­posed the sale af­ter it had made plans to close fol­low­ing years of steep en­roll­ment and rev­enue de­clines. In 2014, it en­rolled 500 stu­dents, down from 1,600 in 2009.

Maura Healey, the state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, said Tues­day that the sale was a “bad idea from the be­gin­ning,” de­scrib­ing Amity as a “for­eign en­tity with no ex­pe­ri­ence in Amer­i­can higher ed­u­ca­tion.”

“These stu­dents de­serve the ed­u­ca­tion and careers that they were promised,” Healey said in a state­ment. “They don’t de­serve to be treated like a source of in­come and shunted aside when they are no longer prof­itable.”

Amity has al­ready bought a cam­pus on Long Is­land in New York, which is in­tended to be­come the chain’s first U.S. branch. The com­pany paid $22 mil­lion in Septem­ber to buy the 170-acre site from St. John’s Univer­sity in New York City, which was sell­ing its Long Is­land branch cam­pus and shift­ing to a smaller lo­ca­tion.

The Amity chain has spread rapidly from In­dia in re­cent years, open­ing cam­puses in Eng­land, China, South Africa and five other coun­tries. Aseem Chauhan, one of the chain’s chan­cel­lors, said in an in­ter­view last month that he hoped a U.S. cam­pus would be pop­u­lar among in­ter­na­tional stu­dents seek­ing an Amer­i­can ed­u­ca­tion.

Dozens of U.S. col­leges have opened over­seas cam­puses, but few for­eign schools have sought to es­tab­lish branches in the United States. Some ex­perts say that may be chang­ing, though, as more for-profit col­leges look for buy­ers amid dwin­dling en­roll­ments and in­creas­ing reg­u­la­tion from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

The Santa Fe Univer­sity of Art and De­sign, a for­profit col­lege in New Mex­ico, an­nounced this year that it was be­ing bought by the Sin­ga­pore-based firm Raf­fles, which op­er­ates 30 col­leges in more than a dozen coun­tries.

Be­fore col­leges that re­ceive fed­eral fund­ing can be sold, their buy­ers must gain ap­proval from the state gov­ern­ment, the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and from an ac­cred­it­ing agency, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.