Capella University's Groundbreaking FlexPath Learning Model Approved by the Higher Learning Commission for Two Programs

May 22, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, May 22, 2013 – Capella University's innovative FlexPath programs have received approval by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which accredits degree-granting institutions in the north-central region of the United States. The HLC formally notified Capella (, an accredited online university* that has built its reputation by providing high-quality online degree programs for working adults, on May 21.

The two Capella University programs approved to operate under the FlexPath model are the Bachelor of Science in Business and the Master of Business Administration (MBA). The next step for Capella is to seek approval by the U.S. Department of Education. Following Department of Education approval, Capella University will begin offering FlexPath programs to students. In March, the Department of Education published a "dear colleague" letter providing clarity for higher education institutions looking to drive innovation through competency-based direct assessment programs like FlexPath.

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 and the application of learning.

"Programs like FlexPath, that measure learning instead of time, represent an enormous opportunity for higher education," Capella University President Scott Kinney said. "Students will be able to move through a degree program at a pace determined by their ability to learn and to 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.

"Additionally, the FlexPath model allows us to be agnostic about how learning takes place. In an era of free and open content, this is an important innovation that will help drive down costs while still making Capella University instruction available for those who will benefit from a more traditional approach. Faculty will remain at the heart of Capella's model as we provide feedback and guidance for students working to demonstrate and master competencies. The true success of this innovative model depends on rigorously articulated and well-developed competencies. This allows us to directly align competencies with the needs of employers and critical societal needs.

"We are thrilled that the Higher Learning Commission has approved these programs that will offer an important new option to the adult students we serve, and we look forward to working with the Department of Education to gain final approval," Kinney said.

About Capella University
Capella University ( is an accredited online university* that has built its reputation by providing quality online degree programs for working adults. About 75 percent of Capella students are currently enrolled in master's or doctoral degree programs in business, counseling, education, health administration, homeland security, human resource management, human services, information technology, nonprofit management and leadership, nursing, psychology, public administration, public health, public safety, and social work. Capella also offers bachelor's degree programs in business, information technology, nursing, psychology, and public safety. Within those areas, Capella currently offers 145 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 22 certificate programs. More than 36,000 learners were enrolled as of March 31, 2013, from all 50 states and 61 other countries. Capella is committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth. Founded in 1993, Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, please visit or call 1.888.CAPELLA (227.3552).

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*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA),
Capella University, Capella Tower, 225 South Sixth Street, Ninth Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 1.888.CAPELLA (227.3552),