September 19, 2017

U.S. Department of Education acts on Purdue NewU plan to acquire Kaplan, operate as Indiana’s newest public institution

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The U.S. Department of Education has given its approval for Purdue University to move forward with its previously announced plan to acquire Kaplan University and operate Purdue NewU as Indiana’s newest public institution of higher education.

This development follows the unanimous decision on Aug. 10 by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) that approved Purdue NewU as a public institution of higher education under Purdue’s control and authorized it to offer academic programs.

The department’s determination, issued after a review of a “pre-acquisition application” submitted by the parties, confirms the federal regulatory agency will give its approval upon the sale’s consummation. It outlines certain conditions that need to be met, which Purdue will work to address as it prepares to complete the transaction.

“Purdue is appreciative of the Department of Education’s swift action,” said Frank Dooley, senior vice provost for teaching and learning. “Following on the heels of the unanimous approval by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Department of Education's authorization is additional affirmation of Purdue’s proposal and the desire to fulfill our land-grant mission by making access to affordable education even more broadly available to those who stand to benefit the most from such access.”

The education department’s approval is the second of three major regulatory reviews necessary for the new institution, currently referred to as Purdue NewU until a new name is selected, to commence operations.

The final step in the approval process resides with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the regional accreditor for both Purdue and Kaplan universities. The HLC reaffirmed Kaplan University’s accreditation for 10 years without any issues in August 2016 after a comprehensive review process.

In late April, Purdue announced the creation of the new institution to advance its land-grant mission, expanding access to higher education for working adults and others for whom traditional campus study is not accessible or attainable. By acquiring Kaplan University through NewU, Purdue seeks to reach the 35 million adults who started but did not complete a degree. No state appropriations will be required to support Purdue NewU’s operations.

NewU will be overseen by a six-member Board of Trustees that is itself appointed by the Purdue Board of Trustees and includes five of Purdue’s current trustees. The NewU board will oversee and approve all academic, budget, marketing and operational functions of the new university.

NewU’s board already has approved a dramatic tuition discount for Indiana resident students and free tuition for Purdue employees. The new Indiana resident rate, also approved by KU’s current board in June, took effect at the beginning of KU’s current academic term and the Purdue employee tuition policy will take effect after the transaction closes.

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