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Kaplan College becomes Kaplan University

July 14, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Kaplan College is now called Kaplan University Hagerstown.

"We have arrived," W. Christopher Motz, president of the university, told dozens of dignitaries and guests during a ceremonial unveiling of the school's new name Tuesday afternoon at the Crestwood Drive campus.

The school started as Hagerstown Business College in 1938 and was acquired by Kaplan Higher Education in 2000, said Jeffrey J. Conlon, president and chief executive officer of the organization.

Kaplan Higher Education serves more than 100,000 students through more than 70 schools and online programs across the country, officials said.

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The local school was renamed Kaplan College in July 2007, and started offering a broader range of degrees, mostly through two-year programs, school officials said.

Now that the school has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, it can offer a full range of bachelor's degree programs and some master's degree programs, school officials said.

Areas of study include business administration, information technology, criminal justice, graphic design, accounting and studies related to health care.

Officials said Kaplan University Hagerstown is the only school in Washington County where a student can go for four years to obtain a bachelor's degree.

Hagerstown Community College offers two-year programs. Degrees offered at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown are for juniors who have already completed their freshman and sophomore years.

Kaplan University Hagerstown serves about 800 students, school officials said. About 200 people take classes at the Kaplan University campus in Frederick, Md.

Kaplan University Hagerstown is a bright spot during these tough economic times, speakers said at a 2 p.m. ceremony outside the school's administration building.

The new school arrives as the world is changing, said Gareth Murray, director of legislative affairs for the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

People are attending school at older ages, they need higher education for expanded job training and universities must adapt to the changing needs of employers, Murray said.

"It's up to us to meet these needs," Murray said.

For too long, education was not valued in the community, said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington. But that is changing, Munson said.

"You've certainly come a long way. I'm very proud to be here today and be a part of it," Munson said.

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