Critics question federal aid for MOOCs, boot camps

20 Oct

Partnerships between institutions and MOOCs, boot camp programs could be eligible for federal financial aid

By Laura Devaney

federal-aid-nontraditionalA new program from the U.S. Department of Education will open up access to federal aid for partnerships between colleges and universities and non-traditional education providers such as MOOC providers and skill-building boot camps. But some critics say scaling overnight isn’t the best idea.

The Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships, or EQUIP, will require partnerships to involve a quality assurance entity to ensure transparent student outcomes and ongoing quality improvement, U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell noted in a blog post.

The program’s goals are to:

  • Learn whether permitting partnerships between institutions and non-traditional providers increases equity by providing access to innovative educational programs for students from diverse backgrounds, particularly those from low-income backgrounds;
  • Examine student outcomes to evaluate the effectiveness of these non-traditional providers;
  • Assess quality-assurance processes that are appropriate for non-traditional providers and the programs they offer; and
  • Identify ways to protect students and taxpayers from risks in an innovative and emerging area of postsecondary education.

The experiment also would waive a clause that prevents colleges and universities offering federal student aid from partnering with organizations that are not postsecondary institutions to provide content and instruction for 50 percent or more of an education program to another entity.

Waiving that, according to the Education Department, will give colleges and universities more flexibility to expand innovative partnerships and educational programs to increase access for students. It also will allow the department to evaluate whether those programs are promoting positive student outcomes.

[ Full article available at eCampus News: ]

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Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News



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