UC, CSU, California Community Colleges -- and the New University of California?

Tim Goral's picture
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

There's the University of California, the California State University and California Community Colleges. Soon, there could be a fourth system of higher education -- the New University of California

The catch? It wouldn't offer classes. It wouldn't charge tuition. And it wouldn't hire professors.

Instead, it would awards degrees based on mastery of skills and subjects, even if the student has never taken a class.

The idea comes from Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who said he wants to make college more accessible to Californians.

So he proposed a bill to the California State Assembly for a new type of higher education institution: Students would earn course credit by passing exams, and once a student had passed enough exams in his field, he would receive a degree.

The bill, AB 1306, explains the proposed system:

The goal of the university is for its students to obtain the requisite knowledge and skills to pass the examinations administered by the university from any source, such as massive open online courses, the student deems appropriate. When the student feels that he or she is ready to take an examination, the student shall pay the examination fee, present acceptable identification at the examination, and, upon passage of the examination, receive academic credit. When a student receives sufficient academic credit in prescribed courses, the university shall issue an appropriate degree to that student.

"This bill would allow students to use whatever approach works best for them to obtain the knowledge needed to receive a college education, whether that is online courses, paid courses, or self-directed study," said a statement from Wilk's office, quoted in the Daily Californian.

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