DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware State University plans to acquire Wesley College, a private liberal arts college, no later than June 2021.
The leaders of both institutions signed a definitive agreement Thursday, the Delaware State News reported. DSU, a historically Black college, still must obtain the approvals appropriate government and accrediting bodies.
“Despite so much uncertainty on many fronts nationally, this is a unique opportunity for the university and the state of Delaware," DSU President Tony Allen said in a statement. "The time for bold innovation for young people is now, particularly for students who have made it to college by sheer determination against sometimes enormous odds."
A news release announcing the acquisition said DSU will work to secure private and government financing to complete the transaction. It will not use any existing revenue in the current budget.
The Delaware News Journal reported DSU will become the first historically Black college or university to acquire another college. Allen in an email to the university community said the two institutions had been discussing the move for months.
Colleges across the nation are scrambling to close deep budget holes after the coronavirus outbreak triggered financial losses that could total more than $100 million at some institutions. Hard-hit colleges have begun furloughing employees to try to prevent future layoffs, while some small schools have closed permanently.
“With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the future was forced upon higher education, and many small and medium size independent institutions are scrambling to find partnerships and a way to survive,” Wesley President Bob Clark wrote in a letter to faculty, staff and students. “We are fortunate to have already been well into this journey before our collective world was turned upside down by the unprecedented economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."