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Public universities are buying the for-profit schools their professors criticize

University of Arizona's campus.
University of Arizona
University of Arizona's campus.
  • Michelle Cheng
By Michelle Cheng



Some public universities in the US are starting to think like private businesses.

In early August, the University of Arizona announced it will acquire Ashford University, a for-profit online university with roughly 35,000 students, for $1 from Zovio, a publicly traded education company. The deal gives the land-grant public institution a stronger presence in online education that it says will allow it to reach more students.

Under the terms of the deal, University of Arizona will create a non-profit entity called University of Arizona Global Campus that will maintain its own accreditation, faculty, and academic programs. Zovio will provide education technology services and receive 19.5% of the tuition revenue.

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