- Associated Press - Monday, February 9, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - It will be an ongoing process for the University of Iowa to take over operations at a Des Moines business college by the summer of 2016, president Sally Mason told a legislative committee Monday.

AIB College of Business, a school founded in 1921 that later became a nonprofit, will be gifted to the University of Iowa instead of the school merging with the university as originally announced last month, said Chris Costa, chairman of the AIB board of trustees. He cited concern over the schools losing accreditation.

The changes mean AIB will graduate its last students at the end of June 2016, and the University of Iowa will take over operations the following month. There will be no incoming freshman class at AIB for the upcoming fall. Athletics -a major component of AIB - would end by May. Scholarships to athletes would be honored through the spring of 2016.

At an announcement last month, officials indicated AIB students could automatically become University of Iowa students. AIB students will instead have to go through the standard admissions process to become a University of Iowa student.

“This is challenging, this is unique, this is I believe in the end a wonderful opportunity,” Mason said.

No legislative action is required for the gift process to proceed. The Iowa Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s three public universities, plans to vote on the proposal.

Mason, who recently announced plans to retire as president, said the acquisition will help the University of Iowa recruit more undergraduate Iowa students. In May, the regents voted in favor of restructuring its funding model for the state’s three public universities. The schools could see more money if they recruit more Iowa residents.

Mason said the current population of about 1,000 students at AIB could be doubled in the future, though she gave no timeline for that increase. She also said there would be more programs available to students instead of a focus on business, but she also said that was being sorted out.

The 20-acre Des Moines campus, which will be known as the Regional Regents Center, will also work with Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa to offer programming. The center will be completely self-sustaining in terms of costs, said Mason.

More than a dozen AIB athletes attended Monday’s meeting. They later expressed concern about how officials from both schools had communicated details of the merger. They expressed frustration that their college plans had been uprooted.

“I feel as if they have talking points and they just reiterate them and they do that well,” said Jackson Davis, a 19-year-old AIB sophomore who plays on the school’s baseball team.

There will be UI advisers at the AIB campus on Thursday, according to Mason. Weekly updates to AIB students about the process will also begin this week, according to administration officials.

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