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How To Make College Accessible To The People Who Need It Most

Calbright didn’t invent Competency-Based Education (CBE), but we’re on the cutting edge.

That became clear in an Inside Higher Ed article by Steven Mintz, asking: Is Competency-Based Education an Idea Whose Time Has Come?

In it he reviews a new manifesto on education, and says that CBE is perhaps the only model we have right now that can reach many of the potential students who need college the most, but can’t afford to put in the money or time necessary for traditional classrooms.  

Today’s higher education system is, the article suggests, “[I]ll equipped to serve the most rapidly growing student populations: those who come from low-income backgrounds and who received uneven preparation in high school; those who attend college part-time, swirl across multiple institutions, drop in and out of college, and juggle their studies with work and family responsibilities.”

Instead, it suggests an approach to Competency-Based Education that is “affordable, realistic,” “flexible and accelerated,” “that replaces an emphasis on credit hours and grades with demonstrated mastery of essential knowledge and skills.” 

A College For Everyone

That cutting-edge college is exactly what the state of California has produced. That’s Calbright.

In order to reach the millions of Californians who need a college education to get into a better job but whose lives keep traditional college out of reach, California established a statewide online college that uses Competency-Based Education — measuring what you know, rather than how much time you’ve sat in a classroom.  

It has some other unique characteristics, too:

  • It’s free to Californians. 
  • It’s flexible: you log in and take classes when you’re ready, whether that’s 10 minutes a day, half an hour before breakfast or bed, or only on the weekend. 
  • It’s as fast as you need it to be: most of the programs can be completed in under a year.
  • It’s focused and realistic.  

Instead of degrees, Calbright’s programs are developed in partnership with employers and prepare students to earn industry-valued certificates and enter growing fields that cut across multiple sectors. Everything at Calbright is focused on getting a job and succeeding in it.

California has already built the kind of revolutionary college that working adults need – 92% of our students are older than 25 – and we’re proud to be making it happen.

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