Students give leading competency-based education college high marks in independent survey

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An independent survey of students commissioned by the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation revealed remarkably high levels of student satisfaction and learning outcomes from College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, including 99 percent recommending the school and 100 percent stating it is a good or very good value.

“There’s not a better educational value on planet Earth if a person is willing to work hard.” -- student

An independent survey of students commissioned by the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation revealed remarkably high levels of student satisfaction and learning outcomes from College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, including 99 percent recommending the school and 100 percent stating it is a good or very good value.

This past summer, the Gates Foundation hired nonprofit researchers to survey every student and graduate of College for America at Southern New Hampshire University to understand the student perspective of this degree program. Said one student of the school, “There’s not a better educational value on planet Earth if a person is willing to work hard.”

Kristine Clerkin, Executive Director of College for America, said, “We put our students at the center of all of our efforts here, and we’re thrilled to know that they’re reporting positive experiential, educational, and workforce-related outcomes.”

To view the results of the survey, see http:// collegeforamerica.org/Gates-Survey

Key data points from the students who responded (n=172 for the survey; varies slightly by question) include:

  • 99% of students would recommend CfA to friends, family, and/or coworkers.
  • 100% believe the CfA program is a good value.
  • 97% rate the quality of interaction with their CfA Coach as very good or good.
  • 85% say CfA projects have increased skills related to their current job(s).
  • 99% report that skills they learned in their program will help with future employment goals.

The survey was conducted by Georgia Institute of Technology and WestEd for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information about the survey, contact Joe McCrary at WestEd at 470-225-4955. WestEd is a national not-for-profit agency that works to ensure high-quality education and healthy development from cradle through career. Visit WestEd online at http://www.WestEd.org.

While not a new concept, competency-based education has reentered the spotlight this past summer when the US House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to advance competency-based education. It was also featured when Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell announced the continuation of a program designed to support student-focused, outcomes-based higher education.

In 2013, College for America (CfA) became the nation’s first competency-based, fully accredited higher education provider to be approved for federal financial aid, independent of the traditional credit hour model, for its associate’s degree. In May 2014, the school announced the approval of the first nationally available, accredited $10,000 bachelor’s degree in communications.

About College for America at Southern New Hampshire University

CfA offers affordable, workforce-applicable higher education to working adults by partnering with employers nationwide. Since its 2013 launch, CfA has enrolled more than 1,000 students from more than 70 employers, including Wellpoint/Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Gap Inc., the University of Pennsylvania Health System, McDonald’s, and Goodwill International.

Southern New Hampshire University is an accredited, nonprofit, private university with a focus on student success and a reputation for innovation in higher education. SNHU was named one of the “50 Most Innovative Organizations in the World” by Fast Company magazine in 2012 and is the fastest-growing nonprofit provider of online higher education in the country. The university’s home is a 300-acre main campus in Manchester, NH, and it offers more than 200 undergraduate and graduate online degree programs, five continuing education centers across Northern New England, and the College for America degree program for working adults and employers.

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Linnae Selinga
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