Colleges are being encouraged to develop programs that would award degrees based on competency and not earned credit hours. The U.S. Department of Education has released a letter that invites colleges to consider the approach, but does not seek to alter current federal regulations. "We know many students and adult learners across the country need the flexibility to fit their education into their lives or work through a class on their own pace, and these competency-based programs offer those features," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

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