WESTVILLE— Purdue University President Mitch Daniels and other school officials on Thursday pitched their plans for a new online university to the state body who will decide whether the venture can move forward.
The Indiana Commission for Higher Education had a lengthy discussion on the new university set to stem from Purdue's recent acquisition of for-profit giant Kaplan University and threw out many of the same questions and concerns that have been circulating since the deal was announced in April.
Daniels honed in on the idea of increasing access to education to the large pool of Indiana and U.S. residents who started but didn't finish college. He specifically noted the commission's goal to have 60 percent of Hoosiers hold a degree or credential beyond high school by 2025.
"This is our duty. It's a huge opportunity for the state, as the commission keeps reminding us," Daniels said. "We do believe this is the one way that we can reach people who individually deserve a better chance in life and who Indiana and the nation need to have that chance."
Although the tone of the meeting was largely positive and congratulatory, questions about how the deal would affect Purdue's reputation, the quality of the online university and whether it will put Purdue or the state at financial risk largely dominated the conversation.
In responding to questions about Purdue's brand and what name will be on the new university's degree, which is being referred to as "NewU" for the time being, school leaders said it will not be equivalent to a Purdue University-West Lafayette degree.