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House Holds Hearing on Non-Trad Students

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April 4, 2014

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House Holds Hearing on Non-Trad Students

On April 2, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held what is likely to be their final hearing on higher education issues before undertaking the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The final hearing topic centered on the needs of today's non-traditional students in the higher education system.

Testifying on contemporary students before the committee were leaders of both public and private institutions as well as an education technology company:

The biggest interest among committee members at this hearing was how institutions are establishing articulation agreements to ease the transferability of credits from two-year institutions to four-year institutions. Both Republican and Democrat members were interested in how institutions are building programs in clear paths that allow a student to earn an associate degree and transfer all of those credits to a four-year institution. One of the suggestions by witnesses was building articulation agreements on a statewide basis around which schools could structure their individual programs.

Also mentioned by Dr. Boughman was the state of Maryland's early college high school program's statewide articulation agreements with the state university system. High school students who earn their associate degree alongside their high school diploma can enter a four-year institution in the state without losing any of the associate degree credits.

An additional topic of bipartisan interest was the use of competency-based learning over traditional credit hours to reduce time to completion and college costs. Most witnesses were in agreement about the benefits of competency-based learning; however, they expressed concerns that the Department of Education's regulations on credit hours would negatively impact their ability to offer financial aid to students.

To access a full video of the briefing and statements by committee leaders check out the committee's website.

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