The company that owns DeVry University, one of the nation’s largest remaining for-profit college chains, is changing its name.
Downers Grove-based DeVry Education Group announced Wednesday that it now will be called Adtalem Global Education. Its new ticker symbol, ATGE, debuted Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
The new name, which the company says comes from a Latin translation of the phrase “to empower,” comes months after DeVry University agreed to pay $100 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleging it misled tens of thousands of students about their post-graduation job and income prospects.
The company also faced an investigation in New York into misleading advertising. It agreed to settle in January.
The company maintains, however, that the legal troubles had nothing to do with the name change. Instead, it was prompted by its broadened “education offerings and geographic reach,” said Ernie Gibble, spokesman for Adtalem.
“The previous name really reflected … our technology heritage and didn’t really recognize our global and health care reach,” he said. “We have a significant portfolio in that regard.”
Earlier this month, the company announced that it would expand degree offerings at its Chamberlain College of Nursing and change the chain’s name to Chamberlain University.
Adtalem has more than 130 campuses globally, including 90 in the U.S. and 12 in Illinois, Gibble said.
Only the parent company is changing its name.
For-profit colleges came under scrutiny during the Obama administration, which targeted inflated job placement claims, predatory lending practices and more. A possible rollback of Obama-era initiatives under the Trump administration could provide relief to the weathered for-profit college industry, but for some, it’s too late.
Government investigations and sanctions have led to closures of several for-profit college chains, including California-based Corinthian Colleges, which sold or closed most of its 107 campuses and liquidated its assets through Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015, and ITT Technical Institute, which closed its more than 130 campuses last year.
Additionally, enrollments in four-year for-profit institutions are declining nationwide, with 10.1 percent fewer students enrolling this spring compared with last, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
DeVry, which denied allegations of wrongdoing in the FTC case, has survived, but it was struggling in some ways even before the lawsuit. The chain has closed 39 campuses nationally since 2014 amid sliding revenue, though its parent company has expanded globally.
Company CEO Lisa Wardell said in a prepared statement the new name “makes clear our purpose to empower students and our status as a global education provider.”
The company’s stock closed Tuesday as DeVry Education Group (DV) at $36.90 and opened Wednesday as Adtalem (ATGE) at $37.50. Shares fell to $37.10 in midmorning trading.
As of Tuesday’s closing bell, the company’s stock price was up $12.59 per share since the November presidential election, an increase of nearly 54 percent.
The Associated Press contributed.