The federal government has approved Southern New Hampshire University’s online College for America.
This is the first time that a program not based on grades and credit hours has qualified for federal financial aid. College for America is competency based, which according to SNHU President Paul Leblanc, allows students a lot more flexibility. To explain what competency based education means, Leblanc says, “the key is if you can show us if you’ve mastered that writing competency in a week, then we’re not going to make you sit through 15 weeks of college composition.”
And for the first time the Feds have announced that they are on board with this model, meaning students can qualify for federal loans. “It’s the basis for which federal financial aid, $153 billion dollars of taxpayer money is dispensed,” says Leblanc.
College for America is imagined as a low-cost degree program for adult students already in the workforce. Students can get an associate’s degree online for $5,000 dollars.