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Analysis Finds Ethical Issues With Newly Formed University of Arizona Global Campus

Dave Wells
Dave Wells
Dave Wells, the Grand Canyon Institute's research director, says an analysis finds ethical issues with the new University of Arizona Global Campus.

Last week, the University of Arizona finalized its acquisition of Ashford University, but a recent analysis by the Grand Canyon Institute, a local nonpartisan think tank, finds a range of ethical and legal issues with the deal and the newly formed University of Arizona Global Campus that came out of it. 

Ashford is considered a predatory institution with a history of students dropping out or transferring with huge amounts of debt, said Dave Wells, the institute’s research director. It also invests less on faculty than other institutions, he said. 

So far, the University of Arizona has given insufficient indication that it will invest money to turn the situation around, the analysis said. 

“The question is, ‘Is U of A going to be taking advantage of these students by not providing access to a quality education and helping them sustain themselves and graduate?’” Wells said. 

There’s a comprehensive and well thought out investment plan for improving retention and completion rates of the University of Arizona Global Campus, UA President Robert Robbins said during a Monday press conference. But Well said the university hasn’t been clear about how they are going to do this.

“That’s the part that’s really disconcerting to us and that’s why we think there needs to be a much more public accountability and a commitment to be public accountable to the results at the new UAGC,” he said. 

Robbins has also said that the Global Campus is a separate entity with its own president, faculty and board of directors. While that’s technically true, Wells said it’s still largely affiliated with UA and under its control.

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Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.