The U.S. Department of Education approved Capella University’s innovative FlexPath programs, making it the first university to offer competency-based bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that utilize an approved direct-assessment learning model as opposed to the traditional credit-hour standard. Approval from the Department of Education allows students enrolled in these programs to receive federal financial aid. The two Capella programs approved to operate under the FlexPath model are the Bachelor of Science in Businessand the Master of Business Administration (MBA). Capella ( www.capella.edu) is a regionally accredited online university* that has built its reputation by providing high quality online degree programsfor working adults. The FlexPath programs offer the potential to significantly reduce the cost of a degree, accelerate the time required for degree completion, and better align learning to the needs of employers and society. Traditionally, degree programs are constructed around credit hours that measure the time required to complete specific courses. Under the FlexPath model, degree programs are constructed around the direct assessment of demonstrated competencies. “Programs like FlexPath, that measure learning instead of time, represent an enormous opportunity for higher education,” said Scott Kinney, president of Capella University. “Students will be able to move through a degree program at a pace determined by their ability to learn and demonstrate competencies in real-world applications, rather than a pre-determined and uniform time designation. This has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of a college degree while maintaining quality and integrity of the degree.” To gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of the FlexPath model, Capella invited select learners over the last two quarters in its Bachelor of Science in Business and MBA programs to take a limited number of their courses in a self-paced format. The students in the pilot demonstrated that in the hands of the right people, this model can offer critical savings and unique flexibility contributing to higher completion rates.