BU News Service
The Department of Education selected Northeastern University and seven other colleges to participate in the Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP) program, which will offer students access to federal financial aid to enroll in professional programs offered by non-traditional education providers in collaboration with universities.
Northeastern will launch the new Bachelor of Science in Advanced Manufacturing program this spring for 20-50 General Electric employees and then roll out the program for students in Fall 2017, according to their website.
Faculty from Northeastern will conduct online courses, while GE will evaluate students based on assignments designed to assess practical performance. The university will offer a short-term certificate that can be combined with the Bachelor of Science in Advanced Manufacturing and other majors in the STEM category through the Lowell Institute School.
The EQUIP program will fund the university to be able to offer the three-year bachelor’s degree at $10,000 per year. The American Council on Education will oversee quality assurance for the program.
“We are pleased to join with Northeastern and GE in such an important effort to expand access to higher education and increase the ways nontraditional learners have of gaining post-secondary degrees and credentials,” Molly Colbert Broad, ACE president, said.
The new Bachelors program carries forward Northeastern’s tradition of offering practice-oriented programs like Level which is a data analytics professional program and ALIGN, a graduate program which helps students transition to industries despite not having the required undergraduate degrees or work experience.
“We believe that forward-thinking colleges and universities and new providers of education can drive increases in postsecondary access, quality, affordability and completion,” Ted Mitchell,Under Secretary of Education, said at the announcement of selected partnerships. “Unfortunately, in too many cases, low-income students have been unable to afford to go to these programs, in part because they can’t access federal financial aid to attend. EQUIP sites aim to rectify that.”
President of Northeastern University Joseph Aoun said in a statement that non-traditional learners are becoming the majority.
“If we do not take care of them, we are facing a gap in the nation. And in this respect, Northeastern decided to work with GE to codevelop, curate, and credential an Advanced Manufacturing degree,” he said.
Alongside the Bachelor’s in Advanced manufacturing, Northeastern is working on building a Master’s degree. The outcome of the current program was very simple Aoun said — it’s jobs.
“Once the students finish, once the learners finish, they have to be job-ready. And how are we going to certify it? Precisely by working from day one with the employers,” Aoun said.