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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. & FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Education Corporation of America (ECA), which operates private, accredited colleges across the U.S., has reached an agreement with Kaplan Higher Education to acquire its 38 Kaplan College Campuses in an all-stock transaction that will give Kaplan a preferred equity interest in ECA. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

“This purchase is an exciting opportunity for Education Corporation of America,” said Stu Reed, Chief Executive Officer of Education Corporation of America. “The Kaplan College campus portfolio offers programs that are a great fit with our Virginia College campuses, and are accredited by the same accrediting body, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The geographic footprints of our organizations are complementary with very little overlap. Most importantly, both organizations share a deeply held passion for helping students transform their lives through career training programs.”

“We think Education Corporation of America presents an optimum match for the Kaplan College Campus portfolio of institutions and programs and anticipate they will bring the benefits of added scale to these operations,” said Thomas C. Leppert, Chief Executive Officer of Kaplan, Inc. “We are delighted that ECA plans to retain the employees at the Kaplan campuses. For faculty, administrators and students this change of ownership should be relatively seamless. This new combination promises to strengthen the individual campuses across the board.”

Education Corporation of America operates Virginia College, Golf Academy of America, Ecotech Institute, and New England College of Business. Its Virginia College offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in career-focused programs, through 27 campuses located primarily in the southeast as well as online programs. Its other seven colleges offer a range of degree programs in specialized and professional fields in a variety of on-campus and online settings.

Kaplan College Campuses, which also include Kaplan Career Institutes, TESST College of Technology and Texas School of Business locations, will be acquired by Education Corporation of America. Over 12,500 students are currently enrolled in these schools.

Both Virginia College and the Kaplan Colleges are nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).

As part of the transaction, Kaplan will have the right to appoint one member to the board of directors of Education Corporation of America.

In the U.S, Kaplan Higher Education will continue to operate Kaplan University and the eight professional schools under its banner, including Concord Law School, the Schools of Business and Information Technology, General Education, Health Sciences, Nursing, Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as the School of Professional and Continuing Education and KU Open College.

Kaplan University offers online degrees and campus-based programs as well as blended learning environments. It is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Kaplan will also continue to own and operate Mount Washington College (MWC), which serves students through its Manchester, NH campus and online programs. MWC is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools (NEASC).

The combined ECA footprint, after the transaction closes, will include more than 70 career-oriented campuses and online programs across 20 states, serving approximately 30,000 students. The transaction, which requires certain regulatory and accrediting agency approvals, is expected to close in about 90 to 180 days.

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