October 31, 2014

UW launches Flexible Option program

An estimated 20 percent of working age adults in the state have earned at least some credit towards a college degree. Officials with the University of Wisconsin System and UW Extension want to help them finish their higher education, with a new program called the UW Flexible Option.

UW Colleges and Extension Chancellor Ray Cross says the program will allow non-traditional students to turn their experiences into a college degree. Cross says “if you know it, and you can do it, and you can prove it, then you can earn a UW degree.”

The UW Flexible Option uses a competency-based system to evaluate students, allowing them to apply their knowledge towards a degree. Cross believes it will help break down the barriers that keep many adults from going back to finish a higher education. Cross says “this program is focused on the student’s pace and competency level. It’s about helping individuals demonstrate, both for themselves and employers, that they have mastery of knowledge and skill necessary to earn a UW degree.”

UW System President Kevin Reilly says the program will help make higher education available and accessible to a broader range of people, at a time when it’s more needed than ever. “It’s about offering that door of opportunity to more people, different people, people who may not have come knocking unless we provided them with a new pathway.”

Enrollment in the Flexible Option kicked off on Monday. The current online set of programs includes a focus on careers such as nursing, information technology, and business, along with several general education subjects.