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house Bill H.R. 3136

Giving Competency-Based Education a Chance

Argument in favor

Allows colleges and universities to offer students a tailor-made education where success is measured by how much they learn rather than how many credits they earn.

Argument opposed

Competency-based education programs are still experimental. How can you actually know how qualified a student is without having a standard to measure their success?

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • The house Passed July 23rd, 2014
    Roll Call Vote 414 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Higher Education and Workforce Investment
    IntroducedSeptember 19th, 2013

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What is House Bill H.R. 3136?

 This bill would try to increase the number of colleges and universities that offer competency-based education programs. In this context, "competency-based" refers to programs that measure a student's success based on direct assessments of their learning, rather than how many credits they have earned or time spent in the classroom. Under these programs, the pace of learning and the content of each class is customized to the unique needs of each student.

Currently, colleges and universities have set schedules for when students can enroll in classes and receive financial aid. Without this bill, competency-based education programs would not meet the requirements to make them eligible for federal student aid programs like financial aid. Under enacted, this bill would authorize the Secretary of Education to select up to 20 institutions of higher education that could voluntarily offer students competency-based education programs.


Colleges and universities that enact these competency-based programs, their students, and the financial aid programs granted to them.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3136

$1.00 Million
The CBO has estimates that this bill would require $1 million from the Department of Education fund between 2015-2019. The CBO also foresees that the bill could affect direct spending for student loans and Pell grants, so pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, any direct spending effects would be insignificant every year and spanning 2015-2024. Enacting the bill would have no effect on revenues.

More Information

In Depth:

The U.S. Department of Education describes "competency-based education" this way:

"Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide students with personalized learning opportunities. These strategies include online and blended learning, dual enrollment and early college high schools, project-based and community-based learning, and credit recovery, among others...Depending on the strategy pursued, competency-based systems also create multiple pathways to graduation."

This bill would also make all institutions of higher education that participate in Title IV programs eligible to offer competency-based education programs. Competency-based education programs authorized by this bill would also be subjected to annual evaluations by the Secretary of Education.


More information about competency-based education programs

Inside Higher Ed

The Hill

Sponsoring Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) Press Release

(Photo Credit:


Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act of 2014

Official Title

To establish a demonstration program for competency-based education.

    I suppose there is no hope for this legislation going forward since there are like no big personal gains for lawmakers, and it would help protect our children’s future. Sad
    Like (1)