2016-10-11 / World / National

India college tries to expand into US by buying string of campuses

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) — One of India’s largest colleges is expanding into the U.S. with the purchase of one campus in New York and a proposal to buy two more, drawing opposition from state officials in Massachusetts about the quality of the education it will offer.

Dozens of U.S. colleges have opened overseas campuses, but few foreign schools have sought to establish branches in the United States, in part because of the cost and tighter regulation. Amity University, a system of private colleges based in New Delhi, has long sought to create a global network of schools, however.

Since it was founded in 2003, the chain has opened campuses in India, England, China, South Africa and five other countries.

Add the U.S. to that list.

Amity paid $22 million last month to buy a Long Island branch of St. John’s University in New York City, which was selling the campus and shifting to a smaller site on Long Island. Amity plans to open its first U.S. branch at the 170-acre, century-old campus after it gains ownership in June 2017.

The chain also has made a deal to buy the New England Institute of Art, a for-profit college near Boston, and one of its sister schools, the Art Institute of New York City, according to paperwork filed in Massachusetts. The deal would require approval from state education officials.

“We are very, very skeptical about this,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is asking the state’s Board of Higher Education to block the sale. “It’s hard to imagine that this outfit from overseas, which has never done any education work here in this country, is well-suited to provide any kind of education to these students.”

Amity hopes a U.S. campus will attract students from abroad who want to gain the prestige that comes with studying in the United States. It also hopes to forge research partnerships with other colleges, and to connect foreign scholars with their counterparts here.

“We have a global vision for education, a model of education which allows for student mobility, faculty collaboration and research collaboration,” said Aseem Chauhan, Amity’s chancellor.

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