The landscape of competency-based education: Enrollments, demographics, and affordability

AEICompetency-based education (CBE), in which credit is provided on the basis of student learning rather than credit or clock hours, is starting to gain traction with educators and policymakers.

CBE programs are often touted as a far more affordable route to college credit and a degree, but these claims often fail to account for assessment fees, differences in financial aid eligibility, and opportunity costs of time.

Still, despite the model’s visibility, few researchers have actually taken an in-depth look at the wide range of competency-based education providers. Many questions have emerged around the various ways students can earn credit, the number of providers that offer competency-based coursework or degree programs, and the number and types of students enrolled in these programs. Additionally, although the list prices of competency-based models appear very cost effective in relation to traditional higher education models, no one has comprehensively examined the true affordability of CBE programs and whether they actually deliver credentials to their students at a lower price. AEI’s new report, The Landscape of Competency-Based Education, addresses these questions and more.

For the report, please visit:

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