/ Modified feb 20, 2024 7:48 p.m.

AZ Board of Regents defends UAGC acquisition to Hobbs

The letter was sent late Tuesday afternoon.

Uarizona Old Main Old Main located at the University of Arizona.

This is a developing story.

The Arizona Board of Regents defended the acquisition of the online University of Arizona Global Campus in a letter to Governor Katie Hobbs late Tuesday afternoon.

ABOR said UA cemented its compliance with legal and ethical standards by instituting four layers of oversight, including internal and external operations compliance as well as oversight in enrollment leadership and weekly meetings with Human Resources.

The letter comes after Hobbs requested a report that would detail the “rationale and process” that were used to purchase UAGC, formerly known as Ashford University. The digital campus has shown declining attendance and retention since the University of Arizona first began the process of acquiring the school in 2020. Those numbers raised concerns for Hobbs who questioned why UA would acquire an institution that showed falling numbers.

Some faculty and staff questioned the acquisition of a for-profit university following similar transactions such as Purdue Global’s acquisition of Kaplan University in 2018. In their report, ABOR said that the “UArizona team was clear-eyed in recognizing the headwinds facing Ashford, including repercussions from the alleged aggressive marketing and debt collection practices, declining enrollments due to competition from other public and non-profit universities, federal and state investigations, and declining retention and graduation rates.”

ABOR said in response to those concerns UA engaged in financial modeling and created “guiding principles” for UAGC’s acquisition. UA leadership then decided to create UAGC to “acquire the operations and assets of Ashford and to operate a separately accredited online university in affiliation with UArizona.”

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