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Ashford University and University of the Rockies Plan to Merge and Become an Independent, Non-profit University

SAN DIEGO and DENVER, March 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashford University and University of the Rockies today announced Ashford University has submitted an application to the WASC Senior College and University Commission ("WSCUC") to merge, creating one institution, and to separate from Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (NYSE: BPI), a provider of postsecondary education services. As a combined institution, Ashford University will return to an independent, non-profit university.

Ashford University Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Ashford University)

The proposed merging of Ashford University and University of the Rockies will create a comprehensive educational offering that will include undergraduate programs at Ashford, master's programs at both universities, and the doctoral programs of the University of the Rockies. The addition of University of the Rockies graduate-level social and behavioral sciences programs will enable Ashford University to reach a wider array of students and help close the skills gap faced by employers.

"Together, we believe the combined, independent non-profit university will be able to focus on its core competence of designing rich educational experiences that serve the personal and professional needs of a diverse student population," said Dr. Craig Swenson, president and CEO of Ashford University. "We believe returning to non-profit status will allow us to better serve students and to be judged and measured as colleges and universities should be—on our ability to foster student learning."

"The missions and values of both of our institutions – including a strongly shared commitment to student success – are well aligned," said Dr. Dawn Iwamoto, president and CEO of University of the Rockies. "Ashford University and University of the Rockies have always demonstrated a singular commitment to providing both access and excellence."

As a part of this transformation, Bridgepoint Education will become an Online Program Management (OPM) company, bringing years of technological and academic innovation, and intellectual property development to other colleges and universities desiring to serve their students through online postsecondary education programs.  Pending necessary approvals, the merged institution of Ashford University and University of the Rockies intends to negotiate a services agreement to become Bridgepoint Education's first client as an OPM.

The completion of Ashford University's return to non-profit status, and University of the Rockies merging into Ashford University, are subject to customary closing conditions and the approval by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), the U.S. Department of Education, the Internal Revenue Service, and state regulatory bodies.

Both universities will provide more information as it becomes available. We expect these transformations to be complete by the end of 2018.

About Ashford University

Where heritage meets innovation – that's Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelor's, and master's degree programs online, allowing students to balance life by providing the flexibility to do school work anywhere, anytime. For more information, please visit,,, or call Nolan Sundrud, director of corporate communications, at 858.513.9240 x11619, or email

About University of the Rockies

University of the Rockies is a leading graduate school of the social and behavioral sciences that offers programs for students seeking their PhD, PsyD, or Master of Arts degree. Students may take classes at a state-of-the-art instructional site in downtown Denver, Colo., or work toward degrees online from anywhere in the country. Whether face-to-face or online, University of the Rockies students enjoy the same access to industry professionals, research, and publishing opportunities. For more information, please visit,,, or call Jana Mathieson, senior communications and community relations manager, at 866.621.0124 x11870, or email

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," including statements relating to the proposed transaction discussed above. Words such as "may," "should," "could," ''would," "predicts," "potential," "continue," "expects," "anticipates," "future," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates" and similar expressions, as well as statements in future tense, identify forward­-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time those statements are made or management's good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to: (i) the failure of the proposed transactions to be approved by WSCUC or any of our other regulators or accreditors; (ii) the failure of the Company, Ashford University and/or University of the Rockies to resolve various federal and state regulatory issues that could impact the viability and timing of these transactions, or to reach agreement on terms of the transactions and to negotiate and execute definitive agreements; (iii)  the failure to satisfy other conditions to completion of the proposed transactions, including the receipt of all regulatory and accreditor approvals necessary to complete the proposed transactions; (iv) if definitive agreements are executed, the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstance that could give rise to the termination of any definitive agreement; (v) the effect of the announcement or pendency of the transactions contemplated herein on the Company's ability to retain and hire key personnel or its operating results and business generally; (vi) risks related to diverting management's attention from the Company's ongoing business operations; (vii) the outcome of stockholder litigation or other legal proceedings that are currently pending or may be instituted against the Company and/or its subsidiaries; and (viii) other factors discussed in the Company's reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Factors or events that could affect the transactions contemplated herein or cause the Company's actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Company to predict all of them. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as may be required by any applicable securities laws.

Contact: Nolan Sundrud
858.513.9240 x11619 ·


University of the Rockies logo

SOURCE Ashford University; University of the Rockies