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April 19, 2018

Dean College President Paula Rooney speaks at Accepted Students Day. (Esteban Bustillos/WGBH News)

Price-conscious students are demanding a return on their college investment, forcing colleges to find new and different ways to meet their demands, all while trying to stay afloat in a competitive market.

In our fourth episode of On Campus Radio, we explore college affordability and how schools are adapting to a fast-changing higher education landscape.

First, WGBH's higher education correspondent Kirk Carapezza takes us to West Lafayette, Indiana, where Purdue University recently acquired Kaplan University, a for-profit online college chain. Purdue president Mitch Daniels says the deal will allow the university to expand its land-grant mission by reaching a once-untapped audience: adult learners. Meanwhile, Purdue biology professor David Sanders, who led a petition against the acquisition, sees it as an existential threat to public higher education and worries it will weaken Purdue's strong brand.

Then, we go to Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts, where host Aaron Schachter reports on why students decided to go to the tiny liberal arts college. He also sits down with Dean president Paula Rooney and asks her whether the school's commitment to focusing on students is enough to stay viable in the long haul.

Also, we talk to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Michael Thomas, president of the New England Board of Higher Education, about a new report that makes recommendation on improving the employability of college graduates and explains why a post-secondary education will remain relevant in New England in the future.

And finally, WGBH senior editor Ken Cooper provides his analysis on these stories and the future of higher education.

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