- Lindenwood University, a nonprofit in Missouri, Thursday finalized its acquisition of Dorsey College, an 89-year-old for-profit technical institution based in Michigan. Neither institution has publicly shared the purchase price.
- Lindenwood’s purchase allows it to expand into the career education sector and create a higher education system that can support a more diverse set of students, according to an FAQ on the university’s website. The acquisition will also diversify Lindenwood’s revenue streams, the private university said.
- The institutions will continue to operate separately, keeping their respective names and employees. Dorsey’s leader, John Barnes, will stay on as president and CEO and will report to John Porter, president of the Lindenwood Education System. Porter will also continue to serve as Lindenwood’s president.
Lindenwood’s board of trustees approved a structural change to the Lindenwood University nonprofit corporation in late 2022 to allow for the acquisition of institutions that couldn’t easily be integrated in a single institution. The corporation changed its name to the Lindenwood Education System earlier this year.
“This is our first step in the plan to build a network of schools that can provide life-long education leading to career advancement,” Porter said in a campus email announcing the completed purchase.
It’s expected Dorsey will pursue recognition by the U.S. Department of Education as a non-profit higher ed institution within the coming months, according to Lindenwood.
Lindenwood became interested in acquiring a technical college when it heard from local school superintendents that they were sending almost half of their students to career and vocational training after graduation, according to the FAQ.
Dorsey was appealing to the university because it has grown during a time when many of its Midwest competitors either left the area or closed. In 2021, Dorsey Schools became Dorsey College when it began offering associate degree programs. The institutions are currently exploring enrollment pathways for Dorsey graduates who might be interested in a Lindenwood program.
Dorsey also has a track record of stability, strong branding and student success, according to Lindenwood.
Those factors seem to hang in opposition to many notable for-profit institutions that have faced accusations of poor student outcomes and deceptive sales pitches.
A similar deal, if bigger in scale — the University of Arkansas system’s potential acquisition of the University of Phoenix — has been met with pushback from Arkansas faculty over concerns the for-profit would diminish its brand. In 2019, the University of Phoenix agreed to pay $191 million, most of it in canceled student debt, to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations its advertisements misrepresented its relationships with major employers.