MOSCOW, Idaho — Two days after receiving a letter from U.S. Senator representing states on the other side of the country, University of Idaho President Scott Green responded to a series of questions criticizing the universities decision to affiliate with the University of Phoenix.
Two days after receiving a letter from U.S. Senator representing states on the other side of the country, University of Idaho President Scott Green responded to a series of questions criticizing the universities decision to affiliate with the University of Phoenix.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) wrote a letter to Green September 11 outlining their distaste for the pending sale and affiliation.
"Given Phoenix’s long record of poor student outcomes, deception of veterans, and entanglements in federal investigations and enforcement actions, we urge you to reconsider the implications of acquiring Phoenix," the senators wrote. "Which could cause great harm to students and taxpayers not only in Idaho but also across the country."
The senators' letter, requesting a response by September 30, asked Green to explain how the University of Idaho would cover potential liabilities or financial trouble -present or future -incurred through the University of Phoenix transaction.
Green responded in part by explaining the University of Idaho is not purchasing the University of Phoenix. A non-profit organization, Four Three Education, is acquiring the University of Phoenix and moving the institution away from a for-profit university to a not-for-profit university. The universities will affiliate with each other by sharing resources.
"As such, the U of I will not be the 'owner' of [the University of Phoenix]. Instead, U of I and [the University of Phoenix] will each be a separate education institution that is part of a separate legal entity," Green said.
The University of Idaho has a webpage explaining frequently asked questions about the sale and affiliation; the school updated the page to address concerns in the senators' letter including a California Department of Justice ruling in March of 2022 that for-profit Ashford University violated California consumer laws. Ashford is now owned by the University of Arizona.
Gov. Brad Little (R-Idaho) wrote a letter to the trio of senators reminding them the people of Idaho did not elect them to leadership.
"People are flocking to Idaho while residents in your states are leaving in droves. I would be happy to share with you our recipe for success since your own states need help in reducing crime and lowering taxes," Gov. Little wrote. "We are taking control of our future in Idaho, and we urge the U.S. Senate not to interfere with efforts to make education more attainable in rural America."
Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) sided with his home-state governor in supporting the University of Idaho to take the action they best see fit.
“The University and the people of Idaho are more than capable of evaluating this matter. The Senators from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Illinois have no connection or interest in this," Sen. Risch wrote KTVB in an email. "As a result, they should respect Idaho’s ability to make this determination in the best interest of our state.”
Attorney General Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) filed a lawsuit against the Idaho State Board of Education (ISBE) for alleged violation of open meeting laws leading up the decision to affiliate with the University of Phoenix. The lawsuit is asking to render the meeting void, and therefore block all action leading to the sale and affiliation.
The University of Idaho expects the sale and affiliation to be completed by early 2024, according to the school's website.
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