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UniversityNow buys Patten U, Gears Up for Distance Ed

UniversityNow is acquiring Oakland-based Patten University, a private, four-year liberal arts institution with enrollment of 900 students, and will begin offering a full distance education program this fall, giving students an opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree online.

The online offering includes all expenses such as tuition, books and fees at a discounted price, part of a flat-rate tuition model that the school predicted will eliminate the need for financial aid on the federal level.

Total cost for a four-year degree online through Patten University is predicted to be less than $10,600, according to UniversityNow.

The online offering from Patten coincides with the launch earlier this year by UniversityNow of its New Charter University.

New Charter and Patten will offer a dual-admission pathway for a degree that will allow New Charter students to transfer to the degree program online at Patten to earn a degree "for under $8,000," according to UniversityNow.

"We're proud to invest the resources that Patten needs to pursue its mission, while effectively preparing students nationwide for the 21st century workforce," said Gene Wade, CEO of UniversityNow. "This is a major step toward achieving the UniversityNow vision of making a high-quality college education available to any qualified student who seeks it."

Working adults are expected to be a key demographic utilizing the offering.

Patten University will be helmed by Janet Holmgren, formerly president of Mills College and a previous vice provost for Princeton University, former senior administrator at the University of Maryland, College Park, and chair of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

"UniversityNow's support will facilitate the expansion of Patten's degree offerings, and further its institutional commitment to social justice and leadership preparation," said Holmgren. "It will also allow Patten to continue the unique and important role it plays in Oakland, one of the major urban centers of California. Combining innovative online offerings serving working adults with on-campus programs geared for traditional college-age students, we will demonstrate that quality and affordability in higher education are pivotal to meeting the needs of the next generation of students."

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