This was originally published on InsideHigherEd.com.
Frank Britt, CEO, Penn Foster
The reality is that despite the scale and scope of the higher education market place, there remains a sizable number of adult learners that lack quality, affordable and accessible career-focused education. Purdue’s interest in investing in Kaplan is an affirmation of this unmet need in the adult learner market, and the mainstreaming of online education as a primary element of the solution.
While it is the most heralded of its kind and still pioneering, it is not the first. The strategic importance of this novel deal design is that it turns Kaplan into a higher education-focused business process outsourcing (BPO) organization that is then powering a leader in degree programs in Purdue.
BPO remains a nascent and sizable market opportunity across the educational value chain from curriculum conversion and delivery to coaching and career services, and this deal will accelerate a host of innovative private-public sector partnerships that embrace purpose and profit with sensible guardrails.
America’s call for education reform -- from employers to the blue-collar insurgents – must reflect higher education’s multifaceted mission and very diverse customers (students) and clients (employers). This deal will grant permission to countless other progressive organizations to embrace the advent of online learning and new era of private sector collaboration even closer to the epicenter of the academic enterprise.