Education Department Approves Competency-Based Program at Capella U.

August 12, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education has granted its approval of a Capella University program offering degrees on a competency-based model.

Students enrolled in the for-profit online university's FlexPath program, which offers bachelor's and master's degrees in business via a self-paced, direct-assessment method, will be eligible for federal student aid, Capella announced today.

In a written statement, the university's president, Scott Kinney, said that federal approval of FlexPath "will offer an important new option to the adult students we serve who are looking to earn a respected degree as efficiently and affordably as possible."

Capella had submitted the program for federal approval after the department issued a "Dear Colleague" letter to colleges in March specifying its expectations for programs that sought to award degrees based on demonstrated competencies rather than credit hours.

The department has since approved competency-based programs at Southern New Hampshire University.

FlexPath won approval from Capella's accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, in May.

Correction, 8/12/2013, 3:40 p.m.: This article originally stated that the U.S. Education Department had approved a competency-based program at the University of Wisconsin, but that is not the case. The article has been changed to reflect that.