CBExchange 2022 — “It’s More Than the Numbers”: The Financial Viability of CBE Programs

On Thursday afternoon at CBExchange 2022, Susan Galbreath, Professor of Accounting at Lipscomb University, presented on the financial viability of CBE programs. Galbreath shared:

“Figuring out the cost structure of CBE programs is so important. Often, the design of CBE is well on its way before finances are even considered.”

An important first consideration for developing a financial plan for CBE is getting key stakeholders at the table. Galbreath stated:

“You need to get your institutional leaders on board. Those CBE champions need to be at the table to make key decisions related to financial investments.”

Other vital questions to ask in developing the financial model include:

  • How are competencies developed and measured?
  • How are assessments and rubrics designed to validate learning and mastery?
  • What is the CBE curriculum? How is it designed for scaffolding and flexibility?

All of these questions implicate costs that are crucial to the financial viability of CBE at institutions.

Beyond stakeholders, cost drivers are essential to understand, as they impact the financial model.

The financial plan is the culmination of the stakeholder input and engagement, the program design and delivery, and the cost structure of the program components.

Communication is also key and goes hand in hand with finance. Galbreath shared:

“People may not know what CBE is or may be relying on old assumptions about it. Getting out the messaging early and often will be very important to the financial success of your program.”

Galbreath left attendees with a final reminder: “Just putting the numbers together is not the end of the story.”

Follow this page for more updates on CBExchange 2022.

About the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN)

C-BEN is a network of institutions, employers, and experts who believe competencies can unlock the future of learning — making education and training more flexible, responsive, and valuable. We support stakeholders across the spectrum of competency-based learning, from institutions and employers who want to embed competencies into their existing programs to those looking to design full competency-based degree programs from the ground up. For more information, visit C-BEN.org

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