Turning a bankrupt private college

Into a public branch campus.  While I think this is probably a good investment overall, you do have to question its priority in light of budget reductions in higher education across the state.  It does create jobs for continuing educators, however.  From The Commercial Appeal.

Gov. Bill Haslam is asking lawmakers to approve $5 million for the first year of operations of Lambuth University's campus in Jackson as a branch of the University of Memphis.

The financially troubled Methodist-affiliated university announced last month that it is ceasing operations. Its last graduating class received its degrees last weekend.

But the arrangement is largely contingent, administration officials told state legislators Tuesday, on Jackson and Madison County officials and community leaders raising $15 million to $19 million to pay off Lambuth's debt of approximately $10 million and to pay for $5 million to $9 million in repairs and maintenance needs at the campus.

The governor's finance and administration commissioner, Mark Emkes, outlined the plan to the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday as part of the Haslam administration's final budget amendment plan to the legislature. It results in weeks of behind-the-scenes talks among U of M administrators, community leaders and the Haslam administration.

If the plan works out, the University of Memphis hopes to enroll at least 300 students on the Lambuth campus. It would be operated as a branch of the university in August for the fall semester with an emphasis on nursing, business and teacher-education classes, according to Kevin F. Roper, executive assistant to the U of M president for government relations and public policy.


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