Update on Indiana's plan to outsource continuing higher education

Last summer, the state of Indiana contracted with Western Governors University to serve adult college students.  It has attracted 1200 students, all of them online.  The Chronicle of Higher Education explains how it has worked out.

Online Public University Plans to Turn Indiana Dropouts Into Graduates
Western Governors University Indiana has tailored its approach to working adults who have some college experience and want to finish their degrees in a short time at relatively low cost. Students pay $6,000 a year for as many credits as they can complete, compared with an average in-state tuition of $7,600 at Indiana's other public four-year institutions. And since WGU is a state institution, students can use state financial aid to pay for tuition.

Instead of traditional courses, Western Governors uses "competency-based learning," which allows students to work at their own pace through a set of suggested study materials, most of them available online. Students demonstrate that they have mastered the material by completing a standardized examination. . . .

One answer is that traditional higher education hasn't focused on adult learners and can't transform itself quickly enough to make a difference in the short term, says Jamie P. Merisotis, president of the Lumina Foundation for Education, a philanthropy that backs efforts, such as WGU Indiana, that aim to improve college completion.

Governor Daniels, who said in an interview with The Chronicle that he would like to see other colleges in Indiana develop similar approaches, has a more direct answer: "Higher education is highly resistant to change."


Adult learning education truly revolutionize how adults can continue or finish their study without having any discretion on showing up to an actual school along with very much younger schoolmates.

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