Press Release: Guides Launched for Financial Aid and Registrar Leaders to Grow Competency-Based Education

The Competency-Based Education Network, with support from AACRAO and Regent Education, to help registrars and financial aid leaders support competency-based learning programs

NASHVILLE, TN (June 28, 2023) — The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), and Regent Education announced today the release of Enrollment Management & Competency-Based Education to help financial aid leaders adopt competency-based education (CBE). The guide is designed to help financial aid offices administer federal, state, and institutional funds to learners enrolled in CBE programs. Because CBE measures learning through mastery not time in seat, financial aid offices need systems and processes to manage awards across standard and nonstandard terms.

Later this year, Enrollment Management & Competency-Based Education: Registrar Edition will be released. Developed in partnership with AACRAO, the guide supports registrars to ensure student records reflect mastery of competencies, track data aligned with satisfactory academic progress, and contribute to new learning and employment records that are digital and competency-based.

The two guides distill the key lessons and implementation guidance developed by C-BEN during an 5 month process, that included feedback from C-BEN’s membership base, a survey of the field, and focus groups. The content provides leaders a “how to guide’’ for supporting the expansion of CBE programs and implementing best-in-class practices that support student needs and institutional priorities.

The publications are in response to the growing demand for CBE programs and the need to evolve institutional policies and practices to accommodate learner needs. Research conducted by AIR found that 82 percent of institutions expect CBE programs to grow over the next five years. The research established that the biggest factors hindering CBE adoption were institutions’ systems and processes along with federal student aid regulations and procedures. It is imperative that institutions have the right systems and operating structure to effectively manage financial aid for CBE programs, grow their tuition and enrollments, and reduce the risk of non-compliance.

“This is about putting the needs of learners first and removing barriers to their potential,’ said Charla Long, President at C-BEN. “Implementing high quality CBE programs requires a campus wide commitment to prioritizing learners. These guides are designed to help financial aid and the registrar’s office — two key campus units — make their CBE programs as student-centric as possible.”

“We see the guide as a great resource for the registrar, and their teams to ensure processes and activities support CBE programs,” said Melanie Gottlieb, executive director of AACRAO. “Using the best practices enables these leaders to speed implementation and save time and resources.”

“We are proud to support the two guides as they speak to our long-term commitment to advancing competency-based education and our partnerships with C-BEN, AACRAO, and other academic associations,“ said Jim Hermens, the chief executive officer of Regent Education. “Our solutions enable institutions to grow their CBE programs by automating financial aid management across all enrollment models.”

Enrollment Management & Competency-Based Education: Financial Aid Edition will debut during a presentation by Charla Long at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) conference. The session, Becoming Competent in Competency-Based Financial Aid Models, will be held on June 30, 2023 and is sponsored by Regent Education. Charla will discuss the rise of CBE programs and explore a range of methods for distributing aid in CBE models. C-BEN and Charla are offering 15-minute consultations to those considering CBE at their institutions.

Publishing the best practices is part of C-BEN’s ongoing work to establish competencies as the currency of education. This vision and action plan are outlined in The CompetencyXChange Agenda, which focuses on six core areas: philanthropy, policy, providers, quality assurance, research, and ed tech. The guides are one tangible example of how C-BEN and a dedicated work group of institutional providers are helping institutions increase all learners’ access to high-quality competency-based credentials.

Download the full Press Release here.

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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