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Number 30, March 19, 2013



U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance on Approval of Competency-Based Programs for Federal Financial Aid Eligibility

On March 19, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) issued a "Dear Colleague" letter providing guidance to higher education institutions on how competency-based programs can be approved for federal financial aid eligibility. As a condition of approval, an institution must demonstrate that its institutional accrediting organization has reviewed and approved the direct assessment program and agrees with the institution's assessment of its credit hour equivalencies. Articles about the letter appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.

The letter, signed by David Bergeron, Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, notes that "The Department plans to collaborate with both accrediting agencies and the higher education community to encourage the use of this innovative approach when appropriate, to identify the most promising practices in this arena, and to gather information to inform future policy regarding competency-based education."

CHEA will follow this issue closely and will keep member institutions and recognized accrediting organizations informed on any developments.



The Federal Update informs CHEA members and interested parties on federal policy developments related to self-regulation and peer review. Please direct any inquiries or comments to Jan Friis, CHEA Vice President for Government Affairs, at or at (202) 955-6126.

Copyright 2013, Council for Higher Education Accreditation. All rights reserved.