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Feds O.K. SNHU's College For America

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. 

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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