Delaware State University (DSU) finalized the acquisition of a private college Thursday in what the university says is the first case of an HBCU acquiring another higher education institution.
DSU, a public HBCU, has purchased Wesley College and will take over the college’s 50-acre campus in Dover as well as capital assets worth about $32 million. DSU will also gain 14 new academic programs, including an occupational therapy master’s program.
The school will now be known as the Wesley College of Health & Behavioral Sciences within Delaware State and the school will offer programs in disciplines including allied/public health, kinesiology, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology and social work.
No money was exchanged in the sale. In lieu of a transfer of funds, DSU will take on Wesley’s liabilities and will accept all Wesley students in good standing. However, DSU will not honor Wesley scholarships. The average cost differential between the two schools is approximately $200,000.
Wesley’s undergraduate tuition rate for last year was $26,934. DSU’s tuition rate was $7038 for in-state students and $16,960 for out-of-state students. Earlier this year, DSU cancelled more than $700,000 in student loan debt to graduates hurt by the coronavirus.
Wesley College had a majority Black student population. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2019, 39% of Wesley’s undergraduate students were Black, 37% were white and 8% were Hispanic or Latino. According to a DSU release, 77% of Wesley students have signed on to continue their education at DSU.
“This is a historic moment,” Delaware State University President Tony Allen, said in a statement. “In our view, that point is noteworthy, but it is not the reason this is such an attractive opportunity. To serve more students who need our brand of excellence, education, and care, we needed to increase the size of our footprint, build on our key academic programs, grow our research base and enhance our economic impact on the State of Delaware. We could not be any more pleased about adding the incredible Wesley brand legacy, so many continuing students, and dozens of dedicated employees to our own family.”
According to Inside Higher Education, more than a dozen Wesley University professors sued the college in an attempt to block the acquisition arguing the university breached its obligations to tenured faculty members by failing to give them adequate notice of the discontinuance of their programs