The board of trustees of the University of Arkansas System will hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss acquiring Grantham University in Lenexa, Kansas, in an asset purchase agreement for $1.
Grantham would join the University of Arkansas' online educational offerings. EVersity, the UA System's online university, offers 24 credentials and adding Grantham, and its 4,000 students, would bring that total to 60.
The board will discuss the issue publicly at 9 a.m. during its annual two-day meeting at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain in Morrilton.
"This potential acquisition represents a game-changer for our efforts to reach those adults who are underserved by public higher education because of their need to attend fully-online, flexible institutions," UA System President Donald Bobbitt said. "We launched eVersity to serve those Arkansans who have completed some college but not earned their degree. Their success in earning a credential is imperative to their future and to the future of our state and region.
"By acquiring the assets of Grantham University, we will be able to scale up this effort to reach beyond the borders of Arkansas and diversify the educational offerings and revenue profile of our system."
Grantham was founded in 1951 and switched to online education in the late 1990s. Both Grantham and eVersity are accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission; if the UA System acquires Grantham, DEAC would have to review the merger.
Grantham is owned by The Level Playing Field Corp. The UA System would employ Grantham's 170 full-time staff and faculty and 240 part-time faculty. Grantham University would be a UA System campus before joining eVersity.
"At eVersity we have developed award-winning online courses and programs and found success serving students in Arkansas who stopped out of their education before completion," said Michael Moore, the UA System vice president for academic affairs.
"Our main challenge has been growing our reach with limited resources for marketing our programs in and outside of Arkansas. This acquisition enhances our system's ability to reach the increasingly important adult student population and adds a portfolio of high-quality, affordable degree programs to those we already offer at eVersity."