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New program expands low-income students' credentialing options

April 19, 2018

Low-income students in the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) will be among the first allowed to use federal student aid to enroll in programs offered by nontraditional educational providers. The providers — including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations — are partnering with accredited colleges or universities through an experimental program called Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP). The U.S. Department of Education has announced that Brookhaven College is the first program to receive final approval.

The EQUIP partnerships provide an exemption from federal student aid rules, which do not allow a non-accredited education provider to deliver more than 50 percent of an educational program. The exemption will provide low-income students greater access to new types of programs, some of which “offer the most innovative solutions to help students enter the workplace more quickly and considerably boost their earnings,” according to the Department of Education.

Through EQUIP, the department seeks to learn about these new models and their costs and educational and employment outcomes for students, as well as explore new methods to measure quality. Testing and learning from this program may help inform future policy reforms.

Brookhaven will be collaborating with StraighterLine, an online provider of self-paced educational courses. This is the first approved program of eight partnerships that were selected to participate when the program was first announced in 2016.

Texashigher ed, workforce