This is a big deal for higher education: Purdue University, a major research institution in Indiana, has acquired Kaplan University, an online education company that caters to non-traditional students. From the press release:
“Nearly 150 years ago, Purdue proudly accepted the land-grant mission to expand higher education beyond the wealthy and the elites of society,” President Mitch Daniels said. “We cannot honor our land-grant mission in the 21st century without reaching out to the 36 million working adults, 750,000 of them in our state, who started but did not complete a college degree, and to the 56 million Americans with no college credit at all.”
Many colleges today are focused on dismantling inequality within their student bodies through diversity bureaucracies and safe spaces and boutique cultural liberalism. A far more productive approach would be to do what Purdue is attempting here: Invest more in the public at large, and expand educational offerings to the vast swaths of the population who have thus far been left left behind by the K-12-to-elite-college meritocratic escalator. Hopefully other university presidents learn something from Mitch Daniels.