University of Arizona FAQ on Ashford University Agreement for UA Global Campus is Deeply Flawed

7 replies
  1. DT
    DT says:

    As a graduate student and Research/Teaching Assistant at UA and alumnus of ASU, I find this post both interesting but rooted in too many assumptions. It’s not difficult to be wary of the financials and even the president’s motivations here, but I think the COVID reality we find ourselves in warrants some consideration. No reasonable person would enter into such an agreement in this economic climate that didn’t have certain financial safeguards in place. That would be ludicrous. To assume that the UA wouldn’t use the mistakes of Purdue Global as a benchmark for what not to do isn’t giving them enough credit. From my seat, the University as an institution hasn’t done much in the way of ramping up the development of Online resources (Arizona Online) in response to COVID. Much of this was left to the University’s Colleges and Departments to figure out. It’s no secret that Robbins opted for the free agent here over pulling from the farm organization, but that isn’t enough to conclude that the free agent won’t deliver or that his contract looks identical to the last free agent to make a similar run.

    • Phil Hill
      Phil Hill says:

      Fair enough, and I acknowledge that there are assumptions involved. This is the key paragraph [emphasis added in comment]:

      This statement assumes that the upfront payments from Zovio (parent company of Ashford) will immediately go into UA’s general fund. But as I am trying to show above, that money will be needed for the massive effort to turnaround UA Global Campus enrollment trends. Again, why does UA think their situation will be different than Purdue’s? If they have an answer to this question, they should address it publicly. And I truly hope that UA leadership did their homework on Purdue Global finances since they are public now (you’re welcome).

      I am likely to revisit this story today or tomorrow based on some new information on what the deal actually is. But the overall messaging is part of the problem. Not stating where the deal is different than Purdue’s (today’s EdSurge article provides some clarity here), and not providing full answers in the FAQ (in particular the one about how much Zovio will make each year.

      I truly hope you’re right that UA has learned from Purdue’s mistakes, but the school should provide real explanations (in particular sharing the contract structure) and much-better answers to FAQs.

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