What the Strayer/Capella Merger Means for CBE
Today, Strayer Education and Capella Education, two publically traded for-profit colleges, announced that they would merge their corporate functions, creating a for-profit education company valued at nearly $2 billion.
Despite the recent turmoil in the for-profit education industry, these two providers have remained largely above the fray. And they each bring something unique to the table:
- The 125-year-old Strayer operates 73 campuses throughout the U.S. Several years ago it also partnered with Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, to develop the successful Jack Welch Management Institute.
- Capella, which focuses primarily on career education for adults, was one of the earliest institutions to win federal approval for competency-based degree programs.
It’s a marriage between old-school prestige and new-era technology.
“Uniting Strayer University’s degrees in business, including the Jack Welch Management Institute, accounting, economics and information technology with Capella University’s competency-based flexible degree programs, health-care offerings and robust doctoral portfolio will help us better meet the educational needs of students in the modern economy.” – Kevin Gilligan, chairman and CEO, Capella
Why Higher Ed Should Pay Attention to Competency-Based Education
This merger highlights the increasing popularity of alternative educational delivery models, like competency-based education, in higher education. Competency-based education doesn’t just help students “pass the class”; it helps them master the information they need to know to be successful in the class and beyond. This approach allows students to progress at their own pace:
- Moving quickly through the lessons they already know from past experience or education
- Spending more time on material they aren’t familiar with and is more challenging
- Completing assessments and projects along the way to demonstrate skills and knowledge
According to a recent report, competency-based education can provide significant advantages to students and institutions:
“A new generation of emerging competency-based education programs offer the potential for colleges and universities to set clearer expectations about what students must know, understand, and be able to do to earn degrees in specific disciplines or majors, and at lower cost to students and institutions than in traditional degree programs.”
When coupled with quality content, as in the Strayer/Capella merger, competency-based education can be a game-changer for educational institutions. In fact, NC State chose our competency-based technology for a three-term Gates Foundation grant study. Our fully adaptive learning platform works just like a dedicated tutor. It personalizes learning and helps students achieve mastery of the content at their own pace. As a result of our approach, we were the only solution that delivered better student outcomes and positive student satisfaction.