An organization working to increase the number of people with college degrees has given the University of Wisconsin System a $1.2 million grant to evaluate its new Flexible Option degree program.
The initiative, which was announced last year, allows students to earn college credit by demonstrating knowledge from on-the-job training, military experience or coursework on tests. The program is designed to help working adults earn degrees faster.
The Higher Learning Commission, the regional body that accredits UW campuses, has given UW-Milwaukee permission to offer nursing, diagnostic imaging and information technology degrees through the program. The commission also has given the system's two-year colleges permission to offer associate degrees and program certificates through Flexible Option.
The system announced Thursday it will receive the grant from the Lumina Foundation, an independent private foundation working to increase the percentage of Americans with college degrees to 60 percent by 2025.
The system will use the money to track and analyze Flexible Option's development and build blueprints other universities could use to implement similar programs.
"The potential impact is huge — affecting degree completion and policy changes at the national level, and pioneering a whole new way of delivering degree and certificate programs," system President Kevin Reilly said in a statement. "Lumina took notice and we are grateful for the Foundation's generous support."