Purdue Acquires Kaplan University to Increase Access for Millions

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

In an unusual move for a public university, Purdue University announced Thursday (April 27) it has acquired Kaplan University, a large for-profit chain, to create a new public university that will extend its reach into online and adult education.

According to the official announcement, the initiative is meant to address two “striking new realities”: the need for postsecondary education for working adults and non-traditional students, and the explosive growth in online education.

“Nearly 150 years ago, Purdue proudly accepted the land-grant mission to expand higher education beyond the wealthy and the elites of society,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “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.” 

Instead of merging both institutions, Purdue plans to form a new university that will include Kaplan’s 15 campuses and learning centers, its 32,000 students and 3,000 employees, plus their experience in distance education. The new university will operate primarily online.

“This is a first, and if successful, could help create a new model for what it means to be a land-grant institution,” said former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. 

The new university will formally begin operations upon approval from the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission.

For more information, visit:  www.PurdueNewU.org