Indian university withdraws from plan to buy 2 US campuses

Indian university withdraws from plan to buy 2 US campuses

In this Monday, Oct. 3, 2016 photo shrubs rest near The New England Institute of Art, in Brookline.  (AP Photo/Collin Binkley)

After facing scrutiny from state officials in Massachusetts, a chain of colleges based in India has canceled its plans to buy two U.S. for-profit colleges.

The Amity University chain filed paperwork in July proposing to buy the New England Institute of Art, located near Boston, and the Art Institute of New York, which are now owned by the Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp. The deal would have helped Amity gain a foothold in the U.S. amid the chain’s global expansion.

But Education Management Corp. officials said Tuesday that Amity has withdrawn from the proposed sale. Anne Dean, a spokeswoman for the corporation, would not say why the deal fell through. Officials from Amity, which is based in New Delhi, did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

The sale would have required approval from state officials in Massachusetts, but some had said they were skeptical of the chain, saying it had no track record in the U.S.

In September, the state’s Department of Higher Education sent a letter to the New England Institute of Art asking what steps had been taken to ensure that Amity would provide a quality education and whether the chain had the finances to support it. Department officials said they didn’t receive a formal response and hadn’t been notified that the sale was canceled.

The school proposed the sale after it had made plans to close following years of steep enrollment and revenue declines. In 2014, it enrolled 500 students, down from 1,600 in 2009.

Maura Healey, the state’s attorney general, said Tuesday that the sale was a “bad idea from the beginning,” describing Amity as a “foreign entity with no experience in American higher education.”

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