Rider University No Longer Selling Campus to China

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Andy Wong

Rider University announced on Monday that it is no longer selling one of its satellite campuses to a Chinese education company. The university president noted it had become “increasingly clear that partnering with an outside entity” was “not feasible.”

Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Co. Ltd is no longer set to purchase Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, according to a Monday announcement by Rider University. The Chinese education company was expected to spend $40 million to acquire the satellite campus, and had pledged an additional $16 million toward working capital and capital costs.

“Given the enormous complexity of the transaction, it became increasingly clear that partnering with an outside entity, even one as well-intentioned as Kaiwen, was not feasible on a viable timeline,” said Rider University president Gregory G. Dell’Omo.

According to the announcement, the two parties have mutually agreed not to extend the Purchase and Sale Agreement as planned for Westminster Choir College. The two entities are instead, said to be exploring an “alternative relationship.”

“Although we determined not to extend the PSA effective June 30, 2019, we have already begun conversations with Kaiwen’s leadership regarding meaningful areas for cooperation and collaboration,” said president Dell’Omo.

Instead, Rider says it will merge Westminster Choir College with the School of Fine and Performing Arts — its Lawrenceville, New Jersey, campus — beginning in September 2020.

“It is not financially feasible to allow Westminster to continue on its present course as a separate, fully operational campus seven miles apart from Rider’s Lawrenceville campus,” said Rider Board chairman Robert S. Schimek.

“The new plan to integrate the two campuses represents another investment in the future of the College that we believe will also accelerate reinvestment in Rider and create a very strong, resilient and cohesive University,” concurred Dell’Omo.

The university president added that Rider “has never wavered” from its commitment to Westminster Choir College since its merger about 30 years ago. Westminster has faced deficits throughout its history, which eventually led to its merger with Rider University in 1992.

“In the coming weeks, administrators, faculty and staff will begin working on the specific tasks that will culminate in the move of Westminster Choir College to the Lawrenceville campus for the fall 2020 semester,” said Dell’Omo.

As for the Chinese company, Rider University and Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology have agreed to work together over the next three years on “academic and artistic initiatives.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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