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Purdue Chases the Cash

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Wow.

Purdue University said Thursday it has acquired for-profit Kaplan University to extend its reach into online and adult education, an unusual move for a public institution.

“None of us knows how fast or in what direction online higher education will evolve, but we know its role will grow, and we intend that Purdue be positioned to be a leader as that happens,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “A careful analysis made it clear that we are very ill-equipped to build the necessary capabilities ourselves, and that the smart course would be to acquire them if we could.”

Instead of folding the for-profit school into its operations, Purdue plans to form a new university comprised of all 15 campuses and learning centers of Kaplan University, as well as 32,000 students and 3,000 employees. All existing Kaplan students and faculty will transition to the new school that has yet to be named.

The newly formed school will rely on tuition and fundraising to cover operating expenses, not state appropriations. It will primarily operate online, with no plans to expand the physical footprint beyond the existing 15 locations. Indiana residents will receive discounted tuition.

Mitch Daniels, so this is hardly surprising. You’d like to think that what this would do is provide greater accountability to for-profit colleges and bring them into the standards of real universities where, you know, students are actually educated and not exploited. But I think we all know that under Daniels’ leadership, what this is going to do is bring public education closer to the for-profit, online model, much to the damage of the poor students forced into this “courses.”

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