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Governor Walker and UW System Announce Revolutionary Online Degree Model

Press Release

Location: Madison, WI

Today Governor Scott Walker, University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Reilly, and UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Ray Cross announced a competency-based degree model that will transform higher education in Wisconsin.

The unique self-paced, competency-based model will allow students to start classes anytime and earn credit for what they already know. Students will be able to demonstrate college-level competencies based on material they already learned in school, on the job, or on their own, as soon as they can prove that they know it. By taking advantage of this high quality, flexibility model, and by utilizing a variety of resources to help pay for their education, students will have new tools to accelerate their careers. Working together, the UW System, the State of Wisconsin, and other partners can make a high-quality UW college degree significantly more affordable and accessible to substantially more people.

"This new model for delivering higher education will help us close the skills gap at an affordable price to get Wisconsin working again," said Governor Walker. "As states across the country work to improve access and affordability in higher education, I am proud to support this exciting and innovative University of Wisconsin solution."

"We are proud of the collaborative work that has gone into this proposal and we look forward to working with the governor, the legislature, faculty, employers, and others to make Wisconsin the leading innovator in higher education," said Reilly. "We've set the stage for this in recent years with efforts to expand transfer policies, enabling students to more easily move college credits from one UW campus to another or from another school into the UW System," Reilly said. "Together, these and other features should result in offerings that could let students reduce their costs dramatically."

Reilly tapped University of Wisconsin Colleges & Extension Chancellor Ray Cross to lead the project by working with other UW Chancellors to assemble a team of faculty members who are committed to developing new ways to assess learning outcomes in their respective academic disciplines.

"This is an exciting challenge at a critical moment in time. It won't be easy, but we have many talented people across the state who will contribute to this project," said Cross. "We know now which features and benefits many adult students want. Our goal is to address these needs in new ways, but we can only achieve that goal by efficiently leveraging all the UW System's resources in a truly collaborative fashion."

UW System expects to make this program available online to students as soon as the fall of this year. A detailed summary of the UW Flexible Degree plan can be found by clicking here.

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