University of New Mexico considers partnership to utilize local shuttered campus
- The University of New Mexico is considering a partnership with Singapore-based for-profit company, Raffles Education Corp. to utilize what is now the Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus space after the institution shutters at the end of Spring 2018, reports the Albuquerque Journal.
- The space would be used to offer additional UNM classes, rather than create a satellite campus, says UNM officials, adding the institution would not consider the opportunity unless a partner would willing to accept the costs of purchasing or leasing the new campus — which Raffles hasn't necessarily agreed to yet.
- Should the partnership happen, UNM says it would leverage course offerings from other local colleges and that accreditation would still only apply to degrees meeting the school's standards; though, UNM interim President Chaouki Abdallah says he's cognizant of the institution's budgetary challenges and will only pursue the deal if it makes financial sense.
The possible partnership between UNM and Raffles Education Corp. is one of several deals of between non-profit and for-profit institutions defining the industry this year, with Education Dive even naming the Purdue- Kaplan deal "Innovation of the Year" for its 2017 Dive Awards. Research shows states are currently spending around $9 billion less on higher education than they were in 2008, and data from Inside Higher Education and Gallup this year also shows only 51% of finance officers at small, nonprofit institutions said their campuses were financially stable, down from 65% last year. Given some of the financial strains institutions have faced the notion of partnerships between nonprofits and for-profits may be attractive for both parties.
Nonprofit institutions may find the ability to offer fully-developed online courses and programs along with an administrative and marketing structure ready to work they may gain from the for-profit relationship, will pay off in the long-run with reduced initial investment. The opportunity to integrate online programs into their fold that would have been extremely costly to produce and scale entirely in-house may be extremely attractive for traditional institutions. For-profit institutions, many of which believe their image has been damaged by a reputation of overcharging students without much evidence of student ROI, may benefit from an association with a renowned college or university with a comparatively unimpeachable academic record.
Though the Trump administration appears to be more friendly to the free market, and thus has been largely looked at to provide leniency from the Obama administration crackdown, for-profits have continued to suffer and face closures. The University of Phoenix recently announced plans to close about 20 campuses throughout the country. To avoid potentially flubbing a good relationship and getting the most out of these more-often-than-not beneficial partnerships, a report from the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) recommends that partnering institutions develop a compelling unifying vision, establish a strong governing body, solidify the right leadership, promote the right sense of urgency, have a strong project management system, create a robust communication plan, and maintain sufficient necessary resources.
- Albuquerque Journal UNM eyes campus in Santa Fe