How One Ambitious Student Saved $7,500 and Nine Months in His Very First UW Flexible Option Subscription Period

Editor’s note: For returning adult learners, a major benefit of the competency-based UW Flexible Option is the ability to accelerate progress using existing knowledge. Flex student Dan Fitch is an exceptional case. Having completed a whopping 33 credits in a single three-month subscription period, he saved an estimated $7,500 in tuition and 9 months’ time (compared to traditional programs) in just his first subscription period alone. This is his story.

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“Flex works really well for me after being in the IT field professionally for so long. Some of the introductory courses, I’ve blazed through them. I just have to prove that I know it and I’m done, which is awesome.”

When Dan Fitch took a temp job with the Wisconsin Legislature in 1998, he thought it would be just that: temporary. Now, 16 years later, Fitch, a software developer, has worked his way through the ranks from a general software administrator to a senior programmer. He handles everything from creating websites with custom developments to apps for various departments around the legislature. While the lack of a college degree hasn’t held Fitch back, he says it’s time to take that next step, earn his degree, and broaden the opportunities to use his talents. Read more…

Competency-Based Education: What It Is, How It’s Different, and Why It Matters to You

skillsEveryone is talking about competency-based education, and for good reason. New competency-based programs such as the UW Flexible Option have the potential to revolutionize higher education by personalizing student learning and making it possible for millions of adults to at last earn a college degree while balancing work and family.

But what is competency-based education, and how is it different from the traditional model? Most importantly, what does it mean to you?Read more…

Competency-Based Information Science and Technology Degree Delivering ROI for Student

Hard work and commitment are two qualities that have served Craig Kilgo well. Now, this aspiring college graduate is leaning on them more than ever as he completes his degree through a competency-

"Flex is one option that helps make a degree reasonable, especially if you go with the ‘all-you-can-learn’ model. The more you work, the more you get. You’re paying for what you need, nothing more."  Craig Kilgo, UW Flexible Option Student

“Flex is one option that helps make a degree reasonable, especially if you go with the ‘all-you-can-learn’ model. The more you work, the more you get. You’re paying for what you need, nothing more.” — Craig Kilgo, UW Flexible Option Student

based University of Wisconsin Flexible Option program.

“Flex is about work ethic,” says Kilgo. “This was exactly the program I needed, and I decided it was important to take advantage of this opportunity as soon as possible.”

Kilgo’s journey to his degree began in Chattanooga, Tennessee as a member of the 2002 Junior National Rowing Team in high school. His talents landed him at Cornell, but the high cost of an Ivy League education soon took a toll. Not willing to walk away, Kilgo took a job as a student assistant in a Cornell-run research institute to help with expenses.

“As time went on, I found myself transitioning from being a student worker to a full-time Cornell employee,” Kilgo says. “I decided I wanted to get out of upstate New York, so I moved to Washington, D.C., and entered the workforce full time. Things were going well, so I didn’t think too much about the fact that I hadn’t completed my college degree.”Read more…

Why One Busy Nurse Chose the UW Flexible Option’s RN to BSN Program

“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge on the job. That’s valuable because Flex lets you earn credit for what you know. ” – Carla Lundeen, UW Flexible Option BSN Student

Self-motivation, organization, and a little flexibility can go a long way when it comes to earning your degree. Carla Lundeen knows this firsthand. As someone who is driven and organized, she was searching for that flexibility ingredient before heading back to school. Thanks to the University of Wisconsin Flexible Option’s RN to BSN program, Lundeen is now well on her way to completing her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“I started in February and my goal is to finish in 15 months,” Lundeen says. “So summer of 2015.” Read more…

Searching for a “Life-Experience Degree”? Why You Should Choose a Competency-Based Degree Instead

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More and more working adults who started college but never finished are seeking different ways to earn their bachelor’s degrees. For good reason—study after study shows that a college degree offers the promise of a higher-paying job, upward mobility, and significantly higher lifetime earnings.

Not surprisingly, many people are interested in discovering degree paths that accelerate completion and reduce costs. Analysis of Google search engine queries reveals that a sizable number of people are researching “life-experience degrees.” Programs that offer these degrees promise to translate a person’s life or work experience into credit without the workload of a typical college program. But as you will soon see, this option should be regarded with caution.

The good news is that another option—competency-based education—allows returning adult learners to legitimately leverage life and work experience to accelerate time to graduation and save money at the same time.

Let’s take a look at both options in detail.Read more…

Texas Student Finds the Flexible Information Science and Technology Degree a Good Fit for Working Adults

Boban’s educational and professional journey spans nearly half the world. As a database administrator, Boban received several years of schooling in his native India. But his desire for greater career opportunities brought him to the United States. Now living in Texas, Boban is looking to advance his education and professional potential. After researching countless degree programs, it was a National Public Radio story that brought Boban to the University of Wisconsin Flexible Option, a competency-based education option for working adults.

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“Online learning can be difficult. You have to be disciplined. It helps that Flex allows me to use knowledge I already have. It allows me to progress at a faster pace.” — Boban, UW Flexible Option Student

“I looked at nearly every online program imaginable and chose the flexible, online Information Science and Technology degree program because it is very affordable and appropriate to the lifestyle of a working individual,” says Boban. “I like the schedule of subscription periods, the concept of mastering a competency, and the fact that most of the materials you need are online.”Read more…