The giant college company that runs ITT Technical Institutes across the country announced today that it was buying the financially struggling Daniel Webster College, in New Hampshire.
Daniel Webster is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. ITT Educational Service’s purchase will let the company add a regionally accredited institution to its roster of institutions, a move that could better position it to compete for students who want degrees from institutions with that level of accreditation. The company said it hoped to conclude the deal by June.
Daniel Webster’s president, Robert E. Myers, said the association’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Education had reviewed the purchase of the debt-laden college and was expected to approve it. He said the college would then operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of ITT.
The deal, he said in an interview today, would allow the college to carry out plans to extend its bachelor’s and master’s programs via distance education. “We have the vision,” he said. “They have the money.”
He said Daniel Webster was carrying debts of about $28-million, which ITT will assume as part of the deal. Mr. Myers, who has been president for nearly four years, said he had spent the past three years pursuing merger partners and other strategies to save the college, which was founded in 1965. He said ITT’s willingness to preserve Daniel Webster’s name and to continue to allow faculty members to control the curriculum, was an attractive part of its offer.
The college employs about 100 faculty and staff members. Mr. Myers said there were no plans to eliminate positions. Rather, he said, plans now call for adding more. Faculty members there are not eligible for tenure but work under contracts lasting up to six years.
The purchase of the residential college, which enrolls about 1,200 students and occupies a 52-acre campus in Nashua, N.H., and another location in Portsmouth, N.H., is a departure for ITT. Traditionally the company has grown by developing its own brand-name branches. The company now operates 105 campuses in 37 states.
In its announcement of the deal, ITT did not disclose the purchase price but noted that the amount would have no material effect on the company’s financial performance. In the first quarter of 2009, ITT reported revenues of $288-million and said its enrollment, of 65,620 as of March 31, was 21 percent higher than it was a year ago. —Goldie Blumenstyk