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University of Arizona Completes Ashford Deal

December 2, 2020
 
 

The University of Arizona completed a deal for the for-profit Ashford University, it said yesterday, transferring control of Ashford from its parent company, Zovio, to a new nonprofit organization affiliated with the public university.

Ashford will now operate as the University of Arizona Global Campus. The Global Campus has been structured as an independent nonprofit institution affiliated with the University of Arizona. It will focus on online learning options for nontraditional and underrepresented students. Global Campus's former parent company, Zovio, will continue to be deeply involved in running the Global Campus's online programs under a multiyear strategic services agreement.

The closing of the acquisition brings to an end a tie-up first announced in August. The purchase price was technically a nominal fee of $1, but the strategic services agreement offers much more long-term value to the seller. Under that agreement, Zovio will provide Global Campus with recruiting, financial aid, counseling, institutional support, information technology and academic support services. In return, Zovio will receive fees equaling its direct costs plus as much as 19.5 percent of Global Campus's tuition and fee revenue. The arrangement is similar to one between Purdue University and Kaplan University that created Purdue University Global.

Paul Pastorek will be the University of Arizona Global Campus's interim CEO. He was Global Campus’s interim president and was formerly acting chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Loyola University in New Orleans.

Craig Swenson has been appointed Global Campus president. He has been president of Ashford since 2016.

The University of Arizona Global Campus also announced the appointment of Nivine Megahed as chair of its Board of Directors. Megahed is currently president of National Louis University, a private nonprofit university based in Chicago that in 2018 purchased the programs of Chicago’s Kendall College from a for-profit group, Laureate Education.

Ashford’s accreditor, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, approved the deal last month.

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