PROVIDENCE – After months of negotiations, Rhode Island lawmakers and Neumont University executives could not come to an agreement, and the Utah-based for-profit college has decided to discontinue its effort to open a Providence campus, Neumont President and CEO Edward H. Levine announced late Thursday.
“Unfortunately, the support and advocacy of visionary Rhode Islanders could not overcome the inertia of state and city government,” Levine said in a prepared statement.
“Despite best efforts, the enabling legislation was still in committee in the House and Senate at the end of March,” he continued.
In Rhode Island, for-profit colleges are required to gain an exemption to the state’s general ban on for-profit colleges prior to going before the Board of Governors for Higher Education for approval. Rhode Island is the only state in the nation with a special law for for-profit colleges.
“From the beginning, I stated the Neumont board’s clear requirement: We will only locate in a city and a state whose leaders welcome us unambiguously and conspicuously,” said Levine, adding that throughout the process, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s office was “distinctly unsupportive.”
“Neumont cannot make an investment where key government leaders are unwilling to actively support us in our effort, which would contribute economic vitality to the state,” said Levine.
The university still intends to build a Northeast campus, most likely in Massachusetts. In mid-March, when Rhode Island negotiations were already going poorly, Levine met with Massachusetts officials to discuss a potential campus in the Bay State.
For-profit colleges require no special legislation In Massachusetts and Neumont’s application will go directly to the Mass. Board of Higher Education.
“For my state, I wish this outcome was different,” concluded Levine, who maintains a residence in Rhode Island.
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