Climb to Work with Marylhurst University and Epicodus on Department of Education's EQUIP Program

Here at Climb Credit, the best part of our job (ranking even above cake on employee birthdays) is having the opportunity to help students with great potential achieve their goals. That’s why we were so thrilled to be chosen as a Quality Assurance Entity (QAE) for the Department of Education’s new EQUIP Program! So what is EQUIP, and what does a QAE do? We’re about to give you the low-down on what these acronyms are and what they mean for you.


Okay, What Is EQUIP?

EQUIP stands for Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships, and its goal is, as you may have guessed, to promote quality education by forging innovative partnerships between universities and non-traditional schools. And we’re fortunate enough to be able to work with many of these non-traditional schools every day! Through this initiative, the Secretary of Education will have authority to waive previous restrictions under title IV of the Higher Education Act, which states that universities are prohibited from receiving federal financial aid for a program if half of the content and instruction are provided by an ineligible institution—such as many non-traditional schools—rather than the university itself. We promise, we really tried to make that last sentence less of a mouthful. Through this experiment, the Department of Education aims to boost groundbreaking learning practices and better assess the quality of these institutions based on their actual outcomes, as well as to increase access for lower-income students. Said Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell: "I'm thrilled that students will soon have access to these innovative programs, developed in partnership with colleges and new providers, with the help of federal financial aid.” We want not only to improve accessibility but to improve the educational programs to which people now have access!

TL;DR—The Department of Education is supporting non-traditional schools.


So Who Are the Schools?

The universities and their non-traditional educational partners were chosen based on 5 criteria: innovating to improve outcomes, equity and access, quality assurance, affordability, and student and taxpayer protections. Using these benchmarks, 8 universities and 8 partners were picked to move to Phase 3 of the selection process:

  • Colorado State University Global Campus and Guild Education

  • Dallas Community College System and StraighterLine

  • Marylhurst University and Epicodus

  • Northeastern University and General Electric

  • SUNY Empire State College and The Flatiron School

  • Thomas Edison State University and

  • University of Texas–Austin and MakerSquare

  • Wilmington University and Zip Code Wilmington

You can read more about these partnerships and the programs they’ll be offering here!

TL;DR—A lot of great schools are involved.


And What’s Climb’s Role?

We will be working as a QAE with Marylhurst University, a traditional 4-year university located in Portland, and Epicodus, an innovative programming school founded in 2012, on their 27-week Web and Mobile Development program. The role of a QAE is to help schools provide the best possible education for their students by giving them a clear measure of their and their students' success; basically, we want to ensure that both students and schools reach their potential. We’ll be working track outcomes for students and program goals, using data from student satisfaction surveys, program retention and completion, and information on post-graduation employment. Using our data, Climb, Marylhurst, and Epicodus will together make sure students not only have a positive experience while in the program, but also that their investment will pay off afterwards through advantageous skills and competitiveness in the job market.

To again quote Under Secretary Mitchell: "As these innovative programs continue to develop, it will be increasingly important to understand what an outcomes-based quality assurance system looks like for such programs. I am encouraged to see that these colleges, providers, and quality assurance entities have stepped forward to provide models for doing so."

TL;DR—We’ll use our data to help hold these schools accountable.

 Put logos for Marylhurst & Epicodus beside Climb logo here

We here at Climb are equally encouraged by the quality of partners chosen for EQUIP, and we are excited to be part of this process and to help ensure more people have access to a valuable education which will improve their lives!

Rachel Seitzclimb, schools, education