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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Governor LePage has been pushing an emphasis on vocational education in Maine schools -- even going as far as saying it's "bad policy" to expect every student to attend college.

But he is endorsing one university expanding in Maine: Kaplan University, and its new Augusta campus.

"Maine is moving forward in education, despite itself," said LePage at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.

Kaplan University has campuses across the country, and the Augusta campus is its third in Maine.

Marketed as a "leader in higher education innovation," Kaplan allows students to take courses on campus and online, offering bachelors and graduate degrees in fields that school officials say are in demand.

Programs offered at the Augusta campus include: Accounting, Criminal Justice, and Medical Assisting, among others.

Gov. LePage said schools like Kaplan are better suited to meet the needs of Maine's workforce.

"They can meet the needs much quicker than established, long-term universities that take forever to get curriculums changed," said Gov. LePage.

"I think our university, community colleges are great," he said. "But what Kaplan brings is options."

For some students, that means taking courses on their own schedule.

Jennifer and Matthew Estes are a married couple with two children, each with a full-time job.

Both have started taking online coursesthrough Kaplan's Augusta campus to earn advanced degrees.

"I needed to further my career, and we have a lot to juggle," said Matthew Estes. "This is great because we can do this on our own time."

Critics of for-profit universities like Kaplan argue the system leads to student loan debt and not necessarily career advancement.

President of Kaplan's Maine campuses, Dr. Christopher Quinn, said Kaplan's most recent numbers show 9/10 Kaplan graduates are working in their field of study.

Classes at Kaplan's Augusta campus began last week. New classes begin in December.

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