Community colleges cancel deal with online Kaplan University

California's community colleges have dropped a controversial plan that would have allowed their students to take some courses at the online Kaplan University and make it easier to transfer to that school for a bachelor's degree.

State community college officials Wednesday said they had canceled a 2009 agreement with Kaplan, a for-profit institution, because the University of California and Cal State University systems had not agreed to accept Kaplan courses for transfer credits.  Without the transfer agreements, the plan could have harmed students and the community colleges, the officials said.

Kaplan University officials, in a statement Wednesday, said they were disappointed by the decision but "will continue to foster relationships with California community colleges and to look for innovative ways to help students meet their academic and career goals."

The plan was intended in part to offer students at the state's 112 community colleges a way to take courses that might have been canceled or overcrowded because of state budget cuts.  But some faculty were concerned about getting entangled with a proprietary school. Even with a discount, Kaplan planned to charge students $646 for a three-credit class, compared with $78 at a community college.

Jane Patton, an instructor at Mission College in Santa Clara who is president of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, released a statement praising the cancellation.  "We have been concerned about potential negative effects on students — particularly the fact that Kaplan courses could not later be carried with them to other universities," she said.

larry.gordon@latimes.com

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