Saint Leo University and Marymount California University have abandoned plans to merge, The Tampa Bay Times reported.
The main campus of Saint Leo is in Florida. The university is known for its many online offerings in addition to its main campus.
Marymount California had been seeking a buyer or merger arrangement for a while. Marymount’s undergraduate enrollment has declined steadily since it peaked at 1,179 students during the 2014–15 academic year, data from the National Center for Education Statistics showed. During the 2019–20 academic year, the university enrolled 622 undergraduates.
But in December, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Saint Leo’s accreditor, rejected the plan. The accrediting agency rejected the prospectus for the acquisition because Saint Leo “did not provide an acceptable plan and supporting documentation to ensure that it has the capacity to comply with” SACS’s financial responsibility standard, according to a SACS report.
Initially, Saint Leo said it would seek the accreditor’s approval at a later date.
A Saint Leo statement on Wednesday said, “The parties did not receive regulatory approval as anticipated in December 2021 and, faced with an extended timeline for consummation of the transaction, ultimately decided it was in the best interests of both universities to part ways amicably.”