DeVry University parent plans to transfer for-profit school's ownership

Ally Marotti, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

DeVry University, one of the nation's largest remaining for-profit college chains, is getting a new owner.

The university's parent company, Adtalem Global Education, plans to transfer ownership of DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management to Silicon Valley-based Cogswell Education, according to a news release. The deal, which requires regulatory and accreditor approval, is expected to close in 2018.

No money will change hands when the deal closes, according to the release. Adtalem will inject working capital into DeVry and be paid out over the next few years based on DeVry's performance.

The announcement comes about a year after DeVry University agreed to pay $100 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleging it misled tens of thousands of students about their post-graduation job and income prospects. Separately, in January, the company agreed to settle an investigation in New York into misleading advertising.

Adtalem President and CEO Lisa Wardell said in a news release that by transferring ownership of DeVry and Keller, the company can focus more on its remaining institutions. Those include Chamberlain University, which recently expanded degree offerings and underwent a name change from Chamberlain College of Nursing, and health care-focused Carrington College, among other institutions.

"We will work closely with Cogswell Education over the coming months to finalize the transfer of ownership and ensure a smooth transition for DeVry University, its colleagues and students," she said.

As of June 30, DeVry University had about 1,100 full-time staff members, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Student enrollment numbers in September at DeVry and Keller totaled more than 26,000, said Adtalem spokesman Ernie Gibble. The new ownership isn't expected to affect degrees students have earned or are earning, and no tuition changes are planned.


Adtalem has more than 130 campuses globally, including 90 in the U.S. and 12 in Illinois, Gibble said. DeVry accounts for more than 50 of those U.S. campuses, and has online offerings.

A spokesman from Cogswell did not return a request for comment. Cogswell Education owns the for-profit Cogswell College, which focuses on entrepreneurship, digital art and technology, according to its website.

For-profit colleges came under scrutiny during the Obama administration, which targeted inflated job placement claims and predatory lending practices, among other issues. Government investigations and sanctions have led to the closing of several for-profit college chains, including California-based Corinthian Colleges, which sold or closed most of its 107 campuses and liquidated its assets through Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015, and ITT Technical Institute, which closed its more than 130 campuses last year.

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