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Purdue Acquiring Kaplan’s Online University Holdings

Purdue's Board of Trustee approved the measure Thursday.

Photo: Chris Morisse Vizza

Purdue's Board of Trustee approved the measure Thursday.

Purdue University Trustees have announced the school plans to acquire the university wing of online educator and testing company Kaplan.

At a special meeting of the trustees Thursday morning, Purdue President Mitch Daniels noted the state’s brain drain – which he was unable to address as governor – continues, with one-in-three Hoosiers having no post-secondary education.

Daniels says the decision comes after almost half-a-year of discussion and the realization that starting an online education program from scratch would be costly and might prove less efficient than simply acquiring the resources of an existing firm.

Kaplan, which has been owned by the Washington Post Company for more than 30 years, will transition its model to that of a public university, with Purdue paying one dollar to use Kaplan’s services and Purdue getting to keep the first ten million dollars of profit for each of the first five years of the deal, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Kaplan currently has about 32,000 students enrolled – approximately the same number who currently take classes on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.

Betty Vandenbosch, who currently leads Kaplan University, will transition to become chancellor of Purdue’s so-called “New University” once the merger is completed.

For that to happen, it must still be signed off on by the Indiana High Education Commission, the U.S. Department of Education and other groups.

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