Can a three-year competency-based degree reopen the doors to PSE?

January 20, 2016

There is “no shortage of innovative work on advancing the quality of higher education,” writes Robert H Seidman for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. “But what good is higher quality to someone who is priced out of college [in the US]?” he asks. Many thinkers have worked to address the problems created by the rising cost of PSE, both for those accessing it and those delivering it, but Seidman believes that a crucial innovation might lie in converting some four-year degree programs into three-year programs. He claims that this can be done without diminishing educational scope or quality by using a competency-based curricula in which “seat time is decoupled from credit hours and non-seat time educational experiences are fully integrated into the curriculum.” He argues that this sort of shift can cut the price of education for both students and schools by 25%, thus giving new opportunities to many who have been priced out of PSE in recent decades. HEQCO