DeVry buys medical education company for $235 million

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. ― For-profit education provider DeVry Inc said it acquired Florida-based American University of the Caribbean for $235 million to expand in medical and healthcare education and boost its post-baccalaureate level courses.

The deal follows industry bellwether Apollo Group’s announcement last week that it plans to buy Carnegie Learning, a math curricula publisher, for $75 million.

The deals indicate signs of consolidation in a post-secondary education market that has been rattled by new regulations over the last two years.

The for-profit companies are buying smaller colleges in an effort to boost growth as student enrollments in their own campuses are falling.

With the AUC buy, DeVry hopes to tap into significant “unmet” demand in the United States for well trained, licensed physicians.

Demographic trends point to accelerating demand for doctors as aging baby boomers need more healthcare services. Ninety percent of AUC’s students are U.S. citizens, DeVry said.

DeVry shares, which have fallen 11 percent from a year-high last month, gained 1.2 percent in early Thursday trade on the New York Stock Exchange.