selected by Department of Education for EQUIP experiment

Program unlocks federal aid for new, low-cost models of education which include online courses, in partnership with Thomas Edison State University and Quality Matters, has been selected to participate in the Department of Education’s Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP). The program will allow low-income students access to financial aid for nontraditional education and training programs through partnerships with select colleges and universities.

The partnership between Thomas Edison State University and offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. At least half of the coursework in these programs will be completed by taking video courses.

“I am honored has been selected for the EQUIP pilot. Equal access to a bachelor’s degree is the key to upward mobility for low-income students, and the foundation for success in today’s knowledge economy,” said Adrian Ridner, CEO and Co-founder of “The Thomas Edison State University and program will provide an accelerated and flexible path to a bachelor’s degree at a fraction of the cost.”

The self-paced courses are broken down into 5-8 minute lessons which can easily be taken anytime, anywhere—even on a mobile device. The flexibility of program makes it ideally-suited for the increasing number of non-traditional students that are juggling school, work, and other responsibilities.
Quality Matters will be the program’s quality assurance entity to measure student outcomes such as earned credits, degree completion, cost compared to national benchmarks, and student satisfaction.

EQUIP falls under the Experimental Sites Initiatives, which allows the DOE flexibility of regulations regarding financial aid for postsecondary institutions. Through the EQUIP program, 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.

“I’m thrilled that students will soon have access to these innovative programs, developed in partnership with colleges and new providers, with the help of federal financial aid,” said Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell. “As these innovative programs continue to develop, it will be increasingly important to understand what an outcomes-based quality assurance system looks like for such programs. I am encouraged to see that these colleges, providers, and quality assurance entities have stepped forward to provide models for doing so.”


Laura Ascione

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