Dear Commons Community,
Global University Systems, also known as GUS, is proposing a deal to save Dowling College which is in dire financial straits due to mounting debts and declining enrollments. Two weeks ago, Dowling announced it was closing for good. But GUS, an education-investment company based in Europe, might be throwing the college a lifeline. In an interview with Maurits Van Rooijen, chief academic officer, Global University Systems, The Chronicle of Higher Education explores the possibility of the arrangement.
“Maurits Van Rooijen said the company serves more than 60,000 students at a dozen colleges and universities around the world. He said the company offers its partner institutions certain resources, such as global marketing operations and an online platform, that they could not build themselves. The Chronicle interviewed him to find out more about the company and how its potential Dowling deal came to be. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Q. How does your company find a university or college like Dowling and decide to pursue a partnership with them?
A. I think in fairness Dowling found us rather than the other way around. There are two answers to that. First is the formal answer. And that is there was a process which was led by the Royal Bank of Canada. I think they listed something like 14 institutions that would be potentially of interest to the college. Now I did happen to know the college, and the college happened to know me, so it’s not surprising that we ended up on that kind of list. But the process otherwise was definitely against a set of criteria. They looked at who was actually in a position to help the college.
Q. Dowling College had a considerable amount of debt and had a major decrease in enrollment in the past few years. Was that a major factor, that your company could handle that?
A. We can handle that. But what’s more important is that Dowling is academically sound, it has major support amongst alumni, the community, et cetera, et cetera. So we were very impressed with Dowling College as it is. It just hasn’t been very well governed and managed over the past 10-plus years. And as a consequence of that, it put itself in a situation where it wasn’t really viable anymore … What is a bit of a problem with Dowling College is that we got involved in such a late state. With colleges like that, they get a warning from the accreditor. Basically, two years ago they had a warning from Middle States and really should have acted at that stage and started looking at options.
The worrying thing with Dowling College is it’s so tight. It can, at a certain moment, be too tight and you run out of time. The lesson learned from Dowling College, I mean, hopefully we’ll manage. But it is not a wise move to let it wait until it is literally a few minutes to 12 … It’s going to be touch and go whether everything will come together on time. I do not know what the outcome is going to be. Of course I do sincerely hope that it’s going to be positive, because I really love the college. I think it has massive potential. But sometimes we also have to admit that under time pressure, we can’t do the impossible.”
This would be an interesting partnership and one that other struggling private colleges might consider.
Again I don’t know. The Dowling administration would have to appeal to the Middle States Association to have their accreditation re-instated depending upon what the new arrangement with Global University Systems.
But i went on the middle state commission website and it said that will lose thier accrediation on august 31st, meaning the arrangement with global university system is not in affect anymore. So many students as well as myself are struggling to find another school to transfer to finish our education as well as dorming situations and credit transfer situation. Dowling takes no responsibiltiy in helping us students out at all with finding a school that will take us
I am a graduate out of state student and the colleges i have spoken to will not accept me because i do not have a gre/gmat because dowling did not require it.
What will happen now that dowling’s accredition is taken away?
I am not sure.. It appears from the article that the two parties are still trying to work out the details of an agreement.
Is it possible that the school will open for Fall 2016 and let students attend? I am a student from dowling and i would love to attend this fall to finish my graduate studies