Missouri focuses on college completion for non-traditional students

Apr 21, 2014

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and the Missouri Community Colleges Association were selected for the Competency-Based Education Jumpstart Program. 

The program, run by the Council for Adult Experiential Learning, could reduce the amount of time required to earn a degree. The program will provide training in two- and four-year colleges and universities throughout the state to implement non-traditional learning.

Liz Coleman, Director of Communications & Marketing for the Department of Higher Education, said, “Competency-based education primarily focuses on adult learners and non-traditional students. People that may work full time jobs but they’re interested in furthering their education and gaining additional skills.”

Coleman said the skills the program will provide will help students in their current jobs or future jobs.

“The more our colleges and universities get these programs going then we’re going to start seeing adults and non-traditional students being able to gain higher education and earn degrees,” she said.

The program allows individuals to learn at their own pace and obtain college credit based on work experience, including service in the military. The program’s goal is for students to obtain the credits to move on to more advanced classes, and finally to obtain a degree.

Currently only two community colleges within the state offer credit through competency-based education and prior learning. According to the Missouri Department of Higher Education, the Jumpstart program will provide further support through low-cost training to these community colleges.