Explores Impact of Competency-Based Higher Education Programs

Share Article interviewed educators and hiring experts to determine how viable competency-based higher education programs are in today’s society.

Higher education is shifting towards a competency-based assessment model. Instead of granting degrees based on hours spent in classroom, some college students are graded based on their successful completion of certain tasks. spoke with trailblazers in the competency-based education field to get a sense of how quickly the idea is catching on.

One of the first schools to receive a grant from the Department of Education to pursue this education was Southern New Hampshire University. In an interview with, SNHU’s president Paul LeBlanc argued that, under the competency-based credit model, federal funds would be used more efficiently.

“Federal funds will go towards what you’ve actually learned versus what you’ve sat through,” he said.

LeBlanc went on to say that, in his experience, employers are often disappointed by the lack of skills traditional graduates possess.

Nick Gidwani, CEO of, attributes this decline in traditional higher education to less rigorous standards. Universities, concerned with publicity and prestige, may allow insufficiently trained would-be employees to graduate in order to maintain their image.

One obstacle competency-based education programs must overcome is their perception. The system could only be deemed successful if employers treated a competency-based degree with the same respect they show traditional degrees.

To read our full investigation into competency-based programs, please visit

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