Purdue launches online program, targets nontraditional students

Purdue University has launched its rebranded version of online-based Kaplan University after criticism and concerns over the program's quality.

Purdue Global's website launched Monday. Purdue acquired the for-profit Kaplan to expand its online education offerings.

After the deal was announced last year, Purdue faculty worried that integrating Kaplan into the university could lower the value of a traditional Purdue degree and the university's reputation.

But officials maintain the online program will positively impact the university's reputation.

"The work we've been doing at Kaplan University can now move over to Purdue University Global and be strengthened by the things that Purdue brings," said Betty Vandenbosch, chancellor for Purdue Global.

The online university can reach nontraditional students who can't come to a physical campus, said Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

The program will focus on educating adults older than 24, Vandenbosch said.

Purdue Global is based in Indianapolis but has 15 campuses, with about 30,000 students and more than 2,000 faculty members.

Indiana residents only have to pay $220 per credit hour for Purdue Global courses, a 45 percent discount. The university is offering its employees free tuition for the online program.

Maile Quinton is one of the 400 Purdue employees taking advantage of the deal. She said there's been a "ripple of excitement" about the program.

"I knew I couldn't be in a class and work at the same time—at least not in a way where I could do either very well," Quinton said. "Purdue Global just came along at the right time for me."

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