WEST LAFAYETTE – A U.S. senator who warned Purdue University about the perils of taking on Kaplan University, a for-profit giant in online higher education, called out Purdue President Mitch Daniels again this week.
In a series of posts on Twitter, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, took aim at Daniels: “Taxpayers & students the ones being ‘misled’ by @purduemitch. Embracing #4profit Kaplan poses major risks.”
Purdue is waiting for final approval from the Higher Learning Commission – a board responsible for accreditation for Purdue and Kaplan – before rolling out Purdue branding and oversight of the online university’s operations. A ruling from the Higher Learning Commission is expected later this year or in early 2018.
The deal, announced by Purdue trustees in April, would turn Kaplan University into what Purdue is calling NewU – an extension of Purdue aimed at a type of student Daniels has said might never be able to set foot on the West Lafayette or regional campuses. Purdue trustees agreed to pay $1 to Kaplan Higher Education, the parent company of Kaplan University, to create NewU. At that time, Kaplan had 32,000 students, 2,462 faculty members and 15 campuses. The terms of the deal call for Kaplan to provide expertise to run NewU in exchange for a percentage of the revenue.
In September, Durbin and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, sent a letter to Daniels railing on the for-profit college industry’s “long history of troubling practices” and “worthless degrees and mountains of debt.”