For-Profit/Not-for-Profit Lines Blur

As soon as the news was announced in April, the phones started ringing off the hook β€” that is, they would have if phones did that anymore β€” at Cooley, an education industry law firm. Purdue University, a land-grant institution with a sterling academic brand honed since 1869, had announced a stunning merger with Kaplan University, a for-profit company that soared in the aughts but had been damaged by an industry-wide crunch.

As traditional and for-profit educational institutions increasingly team up, the size of the transaction and the name brands involved are enticing yet more players to jump in.

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