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Apr 30, 2014 10:58 AM EDT

Franklin University To Purchase Urbana University

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Franklin University in Ohio has purchased Urbana University, a smaller college about an hour away, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Urbana, which has reported severe financial issues and debt in recent years, has about 1,800 students on its 128-acre campus, including about 400 who live on campus. Franklin University is a commuter college that serves nearly 10,000 students.

"The different student populations of Urbana and Franklin are in fact one of the reasons we were attracted to this opportunity," Christi Cabungcal, chief of staff and senior vice president for administration at Franklin University, told Columbus Business First. "We do not have intentions of turning Urbana University into Franklin University."

According to Urbana University's recent publicly available tax filing, it has been losing money each year and has about $18 million in liabilities from bongs, mortgages and bank notes, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Franklin University officials said the partnership will help Urbana "gain the support of a financially stable institution with significant operational capacities, which will be of great benefit as it seeks to revitalize." The partnership will also help Franklin University achieve diversification and extend its mission into a new market segment.

According to the partnership, the financially strapped college will operate as a subsidiary of Franklin and continue to issue degrees bearing Urbana's name.

 As part of the partnership agreement, Franklin University also plans keep Urbana's 15 Division II sports teams and currently no changes will be made to its programs, personnel, salary and benefits or tuition.

"We have no immediate plans to go in and make any dramatic changes to programs or to staffing," Cabungcal said.

Urbana University has been losing money each year.  Its $24.5 million in expenses were $570,000 more than its revenue in 2012, and its net assets declined to #4.7 million from $5.3 million.

Franklin University is acquiring the financially strapped college's assets but will not say what it is doing with the debt or even confirm Urbana's current liabilities, Inside Higher Ed reported.

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