"For more than 100 years, the time-based credit hour has been the currency of higher education. Originally created to calculate eligibility for Andrew Carnegie’s free faculty pension system, the credit hour evolved to become much more. Entire systems have been built around and upon the time-based credit hour, including the economic lifeblood of many colleges and universities—federal financial aid. But...the U.S. Department of Education approved Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) College for America (CfA) to be the first program in the country to receive federal financial aid based on 'direct assessment' of student learning, rather than the credit hour," New America Foundation's Higher Ed Watch blog reports. "This move from the federal government could signal a new era for higher education—one in which we value and pay for learning rather than time. ... Competency-based education has the potential to address cost and quality issues plaguing higher education by being transparent about what courses, credentials, and degrees actually mean. This point was underscored by Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter upon CfA’s approval: 'When students, faculty members, institutions of higher education, accreditors, employers and government better understand what graduates know and can do, everyone stands to benefit.'"
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Publication Date: 4/25/2013