In March 2019, the President of the University of Massachusetts System announced with great fanfare, Plans to create an online-only university This will become one of the few major national participants in online education with a strong regional foothold. “Now is the time to take action,” Martin Meehan said at the time.

It took two and a half years to discuss with more than 100 potential partners and overcome a lot of red tape, but Meehan and UMass finally have their online university.them Announced on Thursday Brandman University is a private non-profit organization in California that serves more than 10,000 online students in 25 physical locations and will become UMass Global. It will be part of the public university system but managed as a private institution under an independent board of directors. The University of Massachusetts expects that its popularity and reputation, especially in the Northeast, will help Brandman reach more adult learners across the country.

Under the unusual arrangement, the University of Massachusetts will not make any advance payments. Chapman University-which founded Brandman in 1958 to serve military and other non-traditional students-will receive a total of approximately US$130 million in funding in 10 years in exchange for Brandman and his company in California Ownership of the building operated by the city of Irvine. Those UMass Online CEO Don Kilburn stated that the payment will come from Brandman, but will be “supported” by UMass when needed. The company is four of the five campuses of the system. Is a clearing house for online courses and will also cooperate with UMass Global.

Purdue University acquired Kaplan University and the University of Arizona in 2017. Acquired last year Ashford University and Missouri, Louisiana and Nearest Arkansas.

They have all seen a huge market of tens of millions of adults who lack a college degree but need education and training to enter or thrive in the labor market, and hundreds of thousands of them are now enrolled in national non-profit institutions such as Southern New Hampshire University or the governor of the West University. Others-although much less than ten years ago-are enrolled in for-profit institutions.

Brandman is much smaller than the governors of southern and western New Hampshire around the world, but Kilburn said it attracted MIT because of its outstanding results (58% of students received a bachelor’s degree in eight years, and the number of transfers increased 22%) and a low student loan default rate (5.2%).

Kilburn said that the structure of this arrangement means that UMass will avoid some of the perception and structural issues that have plagued Purdue University and the University of Arizona, which are trying to transform former for-profit institutions into public institutions, while maintaining and generating online programs. The company’s business relationship with them.

“By keeping it as a non-profit organization without having to cooperate with external for-profit organizations [online program management company]We think this overcomes some of the problems elsewhere,” Kilburn said. “This structure is different and may become an alternative to private institutions that want to be consistent with the public.

Long and winding road

The Massachusetts/Brandman deal has gone through many twists and turns. The University of Massachusetts hired former Pearson Education executive Kilburn in 2017 to help him become a bigger player in the online education field, as Meehan’s March 2019 statement officially demonstrated this.

Rumor has it that MIT will seek to purchase one of the many online for-profit organizations that are increasingly seeking non-profit organizations. But the combination of Massachusetts’ politics and Washington’s changing regulatory environment makes this impossible.

University of Massachusetts Announce More than a year ago, it will establish a “strategic partnership” with Brandman, but at the time it did not imply that it would acquire or absorb this California institution.In retrospect, it’s clear that the new structure was developed and passed the federal regulatory process (especially the transition from the Trump administration to The understaffed Biden administration) Causes the delay.

The UMass/Brandman arrangement is different from the previous arrangement. UMass Global will not be a public institution embedded in its state university system, as is the case with established online institutions such as the University of Maryland Global Campus or the recently established Purdue University Global Campus, which are developed through the acquisition of former for-profit institutions Got up.

Instead, UMass Global will become an “affiliated body” of the UMass system, operated by a board of directors that has UMass representatives but is not under its control. Robert J. Manning, Chairman of the UMass Board of Directors, will serve as the Chairman of the Board of UMass Global.

This structure is similar to the global campus of the University of Arizona after the sale of Ashford University. But the difference between UMass Global and Arizona Global is that the latter is contractually obliged to pay to Zovio Education, the for-profit company that sold it, to manage most of the operations of the online university. Controversial arrangements. UMass Global will not have such an arrangement. (Note: The first three paragraphs have been updated to clarify that the University of Arizona Global Campus is an independent and not a public institution.)

UMass Global will retain its mandate by the WASC Senior College and University Committee (the committee Approve changes in control Last fall). Gary Brahm, Brandman’s principal, will continue to be in charge of UMass Global.

Chapman is the founder of Brandman. He will receive US$96 million in 10 years, which will be paid by Brandman from his income. Brandman will also pay $37 million to purchase its building from Chapman. Kilburn said that most payments start in the sixth year of the arrangement.

UMass officials said that the combined organization will have a stronger reputation, which will help UMass Global reach a larger and wider audience than Brandman currently has about 10,000 students in 45 states.

“By merging these two institutions, we expect a fairly strong growth rate in the Northeast,” said Kathryn S. Newman, president of the MIT Academic Program System.

Newman stated that UMass Global will build on Brandman’s current services, focusing on completing degrees for working adults, updating and strengthening the skills of career changers (including Walmart and Disney with which Brandman currently works with Guild Education), International studies and early university courses.

Newman’s comments on “strong growth” raised the yellow flag for Stephanie Hall, a senior researcher at the Century Foundation who tracks higher education policy. Hall pointed out that in a document analyzing the proposed arrangement between the University of Massachusetts and Brandman, U.S. Department of Education officials expressed concern that excessive growth might put students at risk.

After the rapid growth of some for-profit institutions in the 1990s and 2000s, this is a common concern among regulators. Hall said that future tensions will be “something worthy of attention.”

However, Hall acknowledged that based on the information shared about arrangements, the UMass Global-Brandman approach seems to avoid some of the problems caused by the merger between public universities and newly established non-profit institutions-such as those involving Purdue Problems with universities and the University of Arizona. Technology companies that continue to provide services to the merged organization.


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