Is Competency-Based Education the Answer to an Affordable College Degree? 

Beth Dumbauld

competency based learningWith competency-based education, adult learners are quickly jumping on a pathway to a far more affordable and flexible college degree. Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) programs cost between about $2,500 and $6,000 per year, and students can shave a year or more off their overall time to degree. Almost all competency-based learning programs accept ACE Credit recommended courses in transfer – and most are also StraighterLine partners.

Where do the cost savings come from with competency-based education?

In CBE programs, you pay to learn; you don’t pay for what you already know nor do you pay for “seat time.” The faster you master course material, the quicker your time to course completion and ultimately to your degree. The quicker your time to degree, the less you pay for that degree. It’s as simple as that.

With the traditional approach to higher ed, the average time to degree remains at about 6 years – and as a result, many adult learners are overburdened by student debt and career opportunity costs. Don’t let this be you. Rather than paying for the privilege of sitting in a classroom for a prescribed period of “seat time” (i.e. semesters), you can earn a degree where your academic success is linked to your learning pace and schedule.

Fortunately, for adult learners and employers alike, there are a growing number of options for earning a competency-based degree. Danielle Bullen, in an article she wrote for SkilledUp, explores how StraighterLIne and the rapidly growing competency-based degree movement is helping to forge flexible and affordable degree pathways for students:

The traditional institutions involved with these [competency-based education] initiatives are joining pioneers like Straighterline and Western Governor’s University, which, as StraighterLine’s CEO Burck Smith argued here earlier this year, have been working to loosen the relationship between seat time and college credit for years. Separately and together, these initiatives are at the forefront of a movement to connect business leaders, higher education institutions and students around a common goal of creating programs centered on specific competencies that people need to succeed in the 21st century workforce.

Check out Danielle’s post to see how StraighterLine is help leading the charge in taking competency based education mainstream.

Read Original Article at

What’s your personal experience with competency-based education – in the workplace or in the classroom? Let us know in the comments below.


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