The Competency-Based Education Experiment Expanded to Include More Flexibility for Colleges and Students

The Department of Education (ED) recently posted a on the Homeroom blog about its plans to expand its Competency-Based Education experiment.  

This expansion of the original experiment reflects institutions' plans to go beyond charging tuition based on courses, or competencies.  Instead, some will charge tuition on a subscription basis. This means student learning will be self-paced, and will not require payment for additional courses taken during the same subscription period. This model has potential to reduce costs and support learners in accessing post-secondary career pathways.

This expansion allows for more flexibility for online, subscription delivery models in which institutions charge students a flat fee.  According to the ED blog post, "Under this model, institutions would disburse Title IV aid based on the student’s anticipated enrollment for the subscription period, rather than requiring completion of a specific number of competencies before subsequent disbursements are made."

More details about this expansion are published in a notice in the Federal Register.

Questions: How can adult educators support learners in maximizing the opportunity of a post-secondary subscription delivery model?  Are your ABE/ESL/CTE programs using other subscription models to support student learning, either in or outside of the classroom?  What lessons can be learned from adult students' use of these subscriptions that would help better understand and predict how learners could benefit from this expansion to the competency-based education model? 


Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator