Purdue University acquires Concord Law School

Purdue University, a state school in Indiana, has acquired Kaplan University and with it Concord Law School, an online law school.

When Kaplan launched Concord Law School in 1998 it was the only online law school in the nation. Since then Taft University, Abraham Lincoln University and a handful of others have launched online J.D. programs. However, the American Bar Association has only approved Mitchell Hamline’s hybrid program, which includes time on campus in addition to online classes.

Concord, however, will become the first online J.D. program at a public university, a move that should lend the school more credibility.

Purdue, however, did not acquire Kaplan University for the law school. It was seeking to add a strong online component and decided to acquire Kaplan’s assets to achieve that.

“None of us knows how fast or in what direction online higher education will evolve, but we know its role will grow, and we intend that Purdue be positioned to be a leader as that happens,” said Purdue President and former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels in an announcement of the deal. “A careful analysis made it clear that we are very ill-equipped to build the necessary capabilities ourselves, and that the smart course would be to acquire them if we could.” 

Kaplan University has 32,000 students and 15 physical locations. The majority of its programs are offered online. Purdue University is the only Big 10 university without an ABA-accredited law school.

Concord has faced the same enrollment decline as other law schools in recent years, with enrollment dropping from 1,200 students in 2008 to 600.

Purdue University is paying $1 to acquire Kaplan University from Graham Holdings Co., which will still run the programs for 30 years in exchange for 12.5 percent of revenue. Purdue expects the programs to be financially self-sustaining.