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American Public University System’s parent company plans to acquire Rasmussen University, it announced Wednesday, casting the tie-up between for-profit institutions as meeting growing demand for health-care providers.

American Public Education Inc., the publicly traded company that owns American Public University System and the Hondros College of Nursing, entered into an agreement to acquire Rasmussen. Rasmussen was changing its name this month from Rasmussen College -- its website still carried the former name Wednesday.

Rasmussen counts more than 18,000 students online or at 24 campuses in Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. More than 8,000 of those students are in nursing.

“We are very enthusiastic about the acquisition of Rasmussen, as collectively, Rasmussen and Hondros will be a nursing education powerhouse, serving over 10,000 nursing students,” said Angela Selden, chief executive officer of American Public Education, in a statement. “The core mission of APEI and its institutions is to provide an educational platform where adult learners of all backgrounds can obtain the skills they need.”

Rasmussen, which has been owned by Renovus Capital Partners since 2019, has degree programs in nursing, health sciences, business, technology, design, education and justice studies. It has competency-based and traditional programs.

“There is tremendous alignment between both our cultures, most notably through our emphasis on delivering high-quality student learning that is deeply connected to the employment market -- in nursing, health sciences, and all of our online programs,” said Rasmussen’s interim president, Ann Leja, in a statement.

The institutions American Public Education owns have more than 88,000 adult learners worldwide. They count over 220 degree and certificate programs.

The deal is valued at $329 million, with American Public Education expected to pay $300 million in cash along with $29 million worth of non-voting preferred stock. American Public Education will have the option to substitute cash for the shares when the deal closes. It expects to fund the acquisition using about $125 million in cash on hand, plus debt financing from Macquarie Capital.

Closing is expected by the middle of the third quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory review and closing conditions. Plans call for Rasmussen to continue operating as a separately accredited institution.