The new name for Kaplan University in Davenport rings bells in Big Ten country: Purdue University Global.

The name change comes in the wake of the April purchase of the Kaplan organization by Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana. It will become effective when the acquisition clears the final step in the approval process. The sale has been reviewed by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education and other bodies. Most recently, the institution's board of trustees approved ethical principles and academic programs at the former Kaplan. The working title, announced in June, was "NewU." 

The Higher Learning Commission holds the accreditation for both Kaplan and Purdue universities. The group's next meeting is Feb. 22-23 in Chicago, and that's when the final approval is expected.

The name change will not become official until final approval occurs, Kaplan spokesman Steven White said.

"We are very excited, but our heads are still down with the task at hand," White said. The transition is to be "seamless" for students now taking classes and expecting to graduate this spring.

"We've been working diligently to make sure they ... finish what they started and graduate without any interruptions," White said from his office in Florida.

The name change would be effective at all Kaplan properties, including Iowa campuses in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Mason City.

Purdue University's athletic team, the Boilermakers, are part of the Big Ten Conference, along with the University of Iowa.

Kaplan's roots trace back more than 80 years in Davenport, and to the American Institute of Commerce (AIC). The AIC was founded in Davenport in 1937, became Kaplan College in 2000 and was renamed Kaplan University in 2004.

Kaplan University has institutional operations and assets, including 15 campuses and learning centers, 32,000 students and 3,000 employees, and decades of experience in distance education.

What is now known as the "Kaplan Commitment" will continue. During a three-week introductory period, students begin their coursework and can opt out any time during that period with no tuition cost or other financial obligation, except for their application fee.

Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana who is president of Purdue University, said in a news release, "Our campuses are typically named after the global locations where they hold classes."

"Purdue University Global can be accessed from anywhere in the world, at any time," he said. "The name proved appealing and meaningful to our various stakeholders, most importantly prospective students."

When the sale was announced, Purdue reported on its website that Kaplan was bought to address the need for post-secondary education for working adults, and to harness the explosive growth in online technologies.

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