Competency-Based Educational Models

Securing the Future of Education: Achieving Approvals for Competency-Based Education Programs

In recent years, competency-based education models have become increasingly popular as institutions look for ways to provide students with increased flexibility and more individualized learning opportunities. In contrast to traditional credit hour offerings, competency-based programs are usually self-paced and evaluate students on the mastery of particular skills or competencies related to their field of study. 

As more institutions of higher learning seek to test out and implement these new models, they need to be aware of critical legal and regulatory obstacles that may interfere with their success.  These obstacles primarily involve ensuring that the institution’s competency-based education programs secure the necessary authorizations to operate. These include approvals from state authorizing agencies, institutional accrediting bodies, and the U.S. Department of Education, which is necessary for a student to qualify for federal student aid.

The Education Practice Group at HMBR works with colleges and universities to develop competency-based educational programs for approval by regulatory authorities.  Our lawyers have an inside view of how government agencies and accrediting bodies evaluate competency-based educational programs.  We understand that securing approval of these programs from the U.S. Department of Education can make the difference between an institution moving forward or abandoning their efforts.  We also recognize that the federal approval process is geared towards traditional credit-hours rather than a competency-based model.   

The attorneys in our practice are well aware of these challenges and can help institutions to overcome legal and regulatory hurdles to operationalize their competency-based education programs.