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During HELP Committee Hearing, Senator Hassan Highlights Importance of Expanding High-Quality Competency-Based Education Programs, Touts Southern New Hampshire University’s Successful CBE Efforts


Click here for footage of Senator Hassan’s questions. 

WASHINGTON – During a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing today, Senator Maggie Hassan highlighted the importance of expanding high-quality Competency-Based Education (CBE) programs and touted Southern New Hampshire University’s successful CBE efforts.

“I am fortunate to come from a state that has been leading the [Competency-Based Education] effort in both the Higher Education and the K-12 space so I have seen firsthand that additional flexibility and project-based assessments can increase access and completion for students, especially for more nontraditional ones,” Senator Hassan said. “Southern New Hampshire University has engaged in this work successfully, without compromising student rights or student success, which must remain our number one priority in all our discussions of higher education.”

Senator Hassan asked, “As we move forward to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and more higher education institutions look to add and scale CBE programs, what guardrails must be in place… to ensure that students are not taken advantage of… What distinguishes a high-quality CBE program from a low-quality one?”

Dr. Deborah Bushway, Provost of Northwestern Health Sciences University and an advisor with the Obama Administration on competency-based education, said “There are a number of ways that we can distinguish it. One of the documents that I would point back to is CBEN, which is the Competency-Based Education Network, a national organization, has recently released quality standards, or quality framework. I think that this tool could be very useful. It includes things like making sure that the program is designed with the student experience in mind, with an intentional attention to student data regarding progression, graduation rates, actual achievement of the learning outcomes that are being promised, and longer term sort of career and civic minded sorts of outcomes as well.”

Senator Hassan was also honored to introduce Mike Larsson, President and co-founder of Match Beyond, an innovative program in Boston that partners with SNHU to provide important wraparound services to nontraditional students as they pursue their degree.