NEW ALBANY, Ind. — The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has given Purdue University the OK to launch a new online school.

The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier reports that the commission’s unanimous Thursday vote is the first of three major approvals that Purdue needs to start operating the online university. The online school would stem from Purdue’s recent acquisition of for-profit Kaplan University and is being referred to as “NewU” until an official name is chosen.

The Kaplan programs that are going to Purdue enrolled about 5,800 students using tuition assistance, a benefit for active-duty service members, and just over 5,600 Post-9/11 GI Bill students in fiscal 2015, according to a recent Military Times analysis.

The school now needs permission from the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits higher education institutions in 19 states including Indiana. If both entities approve then the school could be up-and-running by early next year.

A spokesman for Kaplan said after the acquisition was announced in April that he doesn’t anticipate any disruption to students’ education. The only difference will be the school’s name on the diploma.

“The students in these schools — including the military students and veterans and their spouses — they will continue in the same programs, in the same courses earning the same degrees with the same instructors as they have now,” he said.

University President Mitch Daniels has said he hopes the online option will help increase education access to those who didn’t finish college.