LEWISTON — Goodbye, Kaplan. Welcome, Purdue Global.
The Higher Learning Commission, an accreditation organization, has approved Purdue University’s purchase of Kaplan University. The commission was the third and final hurdle required to fold Kaplan into the Purdue brand.
The new venture — Purdue Global — will provide one of the top public U.S. universities with a platform to offer online educational services to nontraditional students who never completed their college degree or never went to college.
“It opens a new era for our institution, with the opportunity to expand our land-grant mission to millions of adult students around the country,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “That opportunity brings with it the responsibility to provide the highest quality online education, not only to our new adult learners, but to all residential and online Boilermaker students.
“Starting today, Purdue University hopes to take a leading role in online learning nationally,” he added.
The official launch of Purdue Global is expected in April.
Kaplan serves approximately 30,000 students both online and at 14 campuses in seven states. Two of the campuses are in Maine — Lewiston and Augusta.
A third Maine campus in South Portland closed last fall, but the closure had nothing to do with the Purdue acquisition, Kaplan spokesman Stephen White said.
While the impetus for the deal was Kaplan’s online infrastructure, Purdue has no plans to close any of the physical campuses. In fact, Purdue has praised the Lewiston campus for its on-site clinical facility for the medical assisting program.
Kaplan students will see no change during the transition, according to officials from both universities. They will be able to complete their classes with their same instructors.
The diploma will now be issued with the Purdue Global name.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” Kaplan President Betty Vanderbosch said in a video address to students. “We want the transition to be seamless for you so you can continue to focus on your studies.”
Daniels will serve as president of Purdue Global, while Vanderbosch will become the chancellor of Purdue Global. She will report to Daniels and a new six-person board of trustees, which will include five members of Purdue’s current board.
Purdue Global’s physical campuses will be based in Indianapolis.
Daniels has said the acquisition will allow Purdue to become an online education leader.
With the desire to reach adult students with online offerings, Purdue soon discovered that it lacked the capacity to build an online structure quickly from scratch to meet the needs for millions of adult students, Daniels said. That led to negotiations with the for-profit Kaplan. Last April, Purdue announced it had purchased Kaplan for $1 and would convert it into a nonprofit school under Purdue’s vast umbrella.
While Purdue will oversee the new university, Kaplan’s for-profit arm will provide the support services and technical expertise for Purdue Global’s courses.
The deal to purchase Kaplan was earlier approved by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.
Purdue, a land-grant university founded in 1869, serves 40,000 students at its flagship campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. It also runs two branch campuses and several technology centers throughout Indiana.
Kaplan University will be renamed Purdue University Global following the approval this week of the sale of Kaplan to Purdue University. (Sun Journal file photo).