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Resolution to halt University of Phoenix purchase heads to Idaho House

Idaho Statehouse
Samantha Wright
Boise State Public Radio

A resolution allowing the legislature to sue to block the University of Idaho’s acquisition of University of Phoenix is heading to the House floor.

The House State Affairs Committee signed off on the resolution after two days of testimony. It urges U of I to halt the deal and authorizes legislative leadership to sue if necessary.

The $685 million deal would see U of I buying the online school through a newly formed nonprofit corporation – all financed by debt through bonding.

U of I President Scott Green gave one last pitch to the committee Friday, saying every college needs to focus on adult and non-traditional students with a predicted drop in traditional freshmen enrollees.

“We all need to pivot there,” said Green. “We need to start thinking about how we’re going to provide this workforce without as many college-going students.”

Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) made the motion to send the resolution to the House floor. He tried to ease U of I officials’ fears, saying the matter won’t automatically end up in court.

“This resolution does not say we’re filing a lawsuit. It says we’re asking for reconsideration by the [state board of education] of this decision,” Gannon said.

But some of his fellow committee members disagreed. Lawmakers repeatedly said they’re more concerned about the backroom deal made last year than the purchase itself.

Green and others told them they didn’t need legislative approval for the deal, which is why they weren’t consulted.

“I think that’s a huge problem and I think the only way to stop that will be going through a court,” said Rep. Heather Scott (R-Blanchard).

The resolution could be taken up by the House next week.

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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