Reporter Journal / William Hennelly

Chinese company adds US college to higher-ed portfolio

(China Daily USA) Updated: 2017-11-23 11:42

China sends more overseas students to US universities than any other country. Now a Chinese company has flat-out bought an American college, one that's located in a city famous for higher education.

Ambow Education Holding Ltd on Monday announced that it has acquired Bay State College, a private institution in Boston, Massachusetts, through its wholly owned Delaware subsidiary Ambow BSC Inc.

The financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Ambow, a public company whose American depositary shares once traded on the New York Stock Exchange, was founded in Silicon Valley before it moved to China in 2000.

The Beijing-based company's educational services are organized into two primary divisions: "Better Schools", representing K-12 schools and tutoring centers; and "Better Jobs", for its college and career enhancement centers.

"We utilize both offline and online delivery models powered by our proprietary learning technologies and robust infrastructure to deliver personalized, high-quality education and training services that cater to a student's needs at every stage," the company says on its website.

Ambow services are available in 30 of China's 31 provinces and autonomous regions.

"We're very excited to announce the acquisition of Bay State College, which is an excellent addition to our career-oriented international education portfolio," Jin Huang, PhD, Ambow's founder, president and CEO, said in a press release.

Bay State College, founded in 1946, offers associate's and bachelor's degrees in business, information technology, healthcare, criminal justice and fashion. The school's main campus is on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston's historic Back Bay neighborhood. The college also has a branch location in Taunton, Massachusetts, about 40 miles south of Boston. It has about 800 students enrolled in day, evening and online classes.

Bay State College is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and eligible to participate in federal student-aid programs under Title IV of the US Higher Education Act.

"The investment in Bay State College aligns perfectly with our growth strategy and creates tremendous value in our effort to address the rising demand for studying abroad and the pursuit of international career opportunities among Chinese students," Huang said.

According to the Institute of International Education, China sent 350,755 students to the US in the 2016-17 school year, a 6.8 percent increase over the previous year. That means that 32.5 percent of the foreign students in the US are from China.

When asked about the sale of the school, Bay State President Craig F. Pfannenstiehl told China Daily: "We received Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approval as well as the US Department of Education approval. We are excited by Ambow's ownership and focus on students and student outcomes. Ambow has already made a financial commitment to the college to ensure we build on Bay State College's 71-year history of success," he said.

"When I met Dr Jin Huang in July 2016, to discuss ways our organizations could collaborate, I was most impressed with her passion for improving lives through education," Pfannenstiehl said on Monday. "Dr Huang is a renowned entrepreneur, growing Ambow from the ground up, and we are excited to be working with her team at Ambow. Ambow can provide the resources for Bay State to thrive."

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