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The Indiana Commission for Higher Education on Thursday approved Purdue University's acquisition of Kaplan University, Purdue announced. The decision, which was widely expected, marks the first of three approvals Purdue needs for its boundary-testing deal, which would result in the creation of a new public online institution. The U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission, which is the regional accreditor for both universities, also are reviewing the arrangement.

“The action taken by our commission today is the culmination of a thoughtful, deliberative process to meet the Legislature’s charge, and it reflects our strong support for new, innovative approaches that ensure Indiana is well positioned to meet the needs of more students,” Teresa Lubbers, Indiana commissioner for higher education, said in a written statement.