University of Phoenix on way to becoming nonprofit through sale to University of Idaho

May 19, 2023, 9:14 AM

A Google Street View image of the University of Phoenix campus in Phoenix, Arizona...

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(Google Street View)

PHOENIX — The University of Idaho has agreed to buy the University of Phoenix and transition the Valley-based online college to nonprofit status, the schools announced Thursday.

The Idaho State Board of Education approved a proposal for the University of Idaho to create of a not-for-profit entity that will acquire all University of Phoenix assets for $550 million.

University of Phoenix ownership will transfer $200 million in cash to the new nonprofit as part of the deal, which is expected to be completed by early 2024, according to an FAQ on the University of Idaho website. The transaction is subject to regulatory and accreditor approval.

“The political landscape in Idaho leaves public universities vulnerable. Meanwhile, for-profit universities are taking a hit on a national scale,” University of Idaho President Scott Green said in a press release Thursday.

“By affiliating with University of Phoenix, we bring together the best of both systems and build on our common desire to educate students.”

The universities will maintain separate operational structures and leadership teams after the deal, with University of Phoenix President Chris Lynne reporting to the nonprofit’s fiduciary board.

The plans call for the University of Phoenix campus near 32nd Street and Interstate 10 to remain open. The facility houses the school’s administrative offices and offers space for in-person course elements.

Lynn said the deal will allow the University of Phoenix, which was founded in 1976 and started offering online courses in 1989, to continue its mission of making career-relevant education accessible to adult students.

“The university has focused on student outcomes, support and upskilling, as well as understanding and reacting to marketplace trends from employers, and innovating ways to make online higher education more accessible and achievable,” he said in a press release.

“We are excited to build on the great legacy of our institution by working with University of Idaho, one of our nation’s leading public universities.”

The nonprofit entity will fund the deal through nontaxable and taxable bonds that are separate from the school budget.

The University of Idaho also is set to receive annual supplemental payments of $10 million from the nonprofit, an amount that could grow over time.

Last month, University of Arkansas officials rejected a similar deal with the University of Phoenix.

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University of Phoenix on way to becoming nonprofit through sale to University of Idaho