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Apr 29, 2017 01:21 PM EDT

Purdue University has confirmed that it will be acquiring Kaplan University. This is part of the institution's efforts to expand access to higher education.

The initiative is intended to address two current issues. First, it addresses the need for postsecondary education for working adults and others who don't suit with traditional campus study. Second, it looks into the massive growth of online technologies as a means of providing education to students of all types.

In a statement on Purdue University's official website, President Mitch Daniels announced their aim to reach out to the 36 million working adults, 750,000 of which are in-state who started but were not able to complete their college degrees. The institution also plans to reach the 56 million Americans who do not have college credit at all.

Daniels also said that Purdue wants to be a leader in the online higher education industry. The school will acquire Kaplan University as well as its institutional operations and assets.

This includes its 15 campuses and learning centers, 32,000 students, 3,000 employees and Kaplan's decades of experience in distance education. All Kaplan students and faculty will transition to the new university, which will be using the Purdue name.

The new university will be different from others in the Purdue system. It will rely only on tuition and fundraising to cover operating expenses. It won't use state appropriations.

The school will operate primarily online but will have 15 locations across the country. This includes an existing facility in Indianopolis, with potential for growth throughout the state. Indiana resident students are said to be receiving a tuition discount which is still to be determined.

According to Inside Higher Education, Kaplan University has struggled with declining assignments and criticisms from federal and state regulators. In 2015, Kaplan Higher Education paid $1.3 million to settle a federal whistle-blower's claims that the company employed unqualified instructors.

Kaplan University is separate from the company. It still has a massive infrastructure that will allow Purdue to become a major player in online education.

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