UCLA buys former campus in Marymount California for $80 million

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Dive Card:

  • University of California, Los Angeles announced on Tuesday that it is buying two sites from the defunct Marymount California University for $80 million.
  • UCLA said the land acquisition — the largest in its history — will expand access to education at the university. The purchase will allow UCLA to add nearly 1,000 students, and the sites may be able to host academic programs next year.
  • With the purchase, UCLA will own Marymount California University’s 24.5-acre main campus in Rancho Palos Verdes. It will also own an 11-hectare residential lot in San Pedro. Both locations are approximately 30 miles south of UCLA’s campus.

Dive Insight:

Buying the two sites could allow UCLA to increase enrollment and expand its housing capacity. The university has been under pressure to do both, but has been limited by its 419-acre campus in Westwood — the smallest among undergraduate institutions in the University of California System.

Nevertheless, the UC system hopes to increase enrollment by 20,000 students across its 10 campuses by 2030. UCLA had approximately 46,000 students in fall 2021, representing approximately 16% of the system’s total enrollment. Far more students apply to the university than it can accept, admitting only 11% of first-year applicants last fall.

“As demand for our academic offerings continues to grow, this acquisition will allow us to expand student access in line with UC’s 2030 goals, strengthen our connections to the greater LA region, and deepen our institution’s research and public service impact ,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.

Marymount California announced in April that it was closing down after a merger with fellow Catholic institution Saint Leo University fell through. Officials said years of declining enrollment, rising operating costs and pandemic-related challenges all contributed to the closure.

Housing developers showed interest in Marymount California’s properties after the closing, but UCLA and the institution reached an agreement because of their shared educational purpose, according to the announcement.

Marymount received 41 formal bids for the properties and whittled them down to seven contenders, including three educational institutions, It was reported by the Los Angeles Times. Marymount’s board of trustees chose UCLA because it planned to maintain the school’s “small college culture,” Marymount President Brian Marcotte told the newspaper.

University of California regents approved the purchase last week. UCLA will use general revenue bonds to pay for the properties, according to the Los Angeles Times.

UCLA is creating a task force of faculty and administrators to examine how to best use the property to further the university’s goals. UCLA is also pursuing other ways to increase enrollment.

The university has considered a number of new initiatives to serve more students in the state, such as expanding course offerings and opening satellite campuses, according to the Daily Bruinthe university’s student newspaper.

Tuesday’s announcement said those practices could include increased summer enrollment, expanded online instruction and helping students graduate faster to free up seats for other students.

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