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The U.S. Department Education said Tuesday it is poised to release an extensive reference guide for institutions that are participating in an experiment on competency-based education. Since that project was begun last year, the department said it became clear that more guidance was needed -- for both colleges and accrediting agencies.

The department has yet to release the document publicly, but plans to post it at this link.

“We believe that this guide will offer tremendous support for both experienced and new competency-based education providers as they implement this experiment,” Ted Mitchell, the under secretary of education, said in a written statement. “We recognize that many of you were anticipating that the guide would be released earlier this summer, but it was very important for us to have a high level of confidence that the guidance it contains is on very firm ground.”

The experiment also will expand, the department also announced, to better include institutions with competency-based programs that are based on a subscription model. Under this approach, students can work through educational content and assessments at their own pace, paying a single fee for a specific amount of time.

Under the experiment’s expansion the department will change its financial aid disbursement period to fit with the subscription model.