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Online National University plans merger, to become second largest private college in California

San Diego-based National University on Monday announced plans to merge with another local online college, expanding the institution’s sizeable footprint amid increased demand for distance learning due to the pandemic.

Beginning this fall, Northcentral University, an adult-education college also based in San Diego, will shed its moniker and join National — increasing the university’s projected enrollment to more than 42,000 students, up from about 32,000.

The University of Southern California is the single largest private college in the state, serving approximately 49,500 students in the last academic year.

The National University, founded by Capt. David Chigos of the US Navy in 1971, has offered undergraduate courses and certificate programs for adult learners with an increasing focus on online courses over the past decade. The merger will allow the institution to expand its curriculum to include Northcentral’s master’s and doctoral programs, such as nursing, health administration and family therapy.

“As our country continues to face rapidly changing workforce needs and a new round of economic uncertainty, colleges and universities face a new imperative to offer educational offerings that are affordable, accessible and closely aligned with labor market needs,” said Michael Cunningham. , interim president of the National University, said in a press statement.

About 70 percent of National’s students take most of their courses online, according to a press release. The average age for a student is 33, and about one in four are veterans or active military. The graduation rate for first-time full-time students it is 46 percent.

The private institution is part of the National University System, which also includes Seattle City University. School leaders hope to roughly double the system’s total enrollment to about 100,000 students the next years.

“Three years ago, the board approved an ambitious five-year plan, challenging National University leadership to expand access to workforce-related credentials and skills at a lower cost,” said Ruthann Heinrich, president of the National University Board. Commissioners. he said in a press statement. “This merger, which now has approval from the accrediting agency to proceed, is an important step toward achieving that vision.”

A bachelor’s degree at National currently costs about $66,600 and a master’s degree $19,890, according to school officials.

One research report released last year by the American Association of University Professors accused National of firing 50 full-time professors “in flagrant violation of widely accepted standards of academic governance.” The report, which examined the management practices of several colleges in the wake of the pandemic, also said National’s layoffs had “demoralized a committed faculty”.

Cunningham said he disagreed with the findings and that the report did not reflect the position of university professors.

In 2020 the National team he backed off since renaming it after billionaire T. Denny Sanford when the mega-donor became embroiled in a child pornography investigation by the South Dakota attorney general. The case was finally closed without charge. Sanford’s donations to the school, including $350 million in 2019, played no role in the merger, officials said.

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Online National University plans merger, to become second largest private college in California Source link Online National University plans merger, to become second largest private college in California

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