Mendenhall's Senate Committee Testimony, 2/2/12

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WGU President Testifies at Senate Hearing on College Affordability
February 2, 2012

WGU President Robert W. Mendenhall testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on February 2, 2012, at a hearing on improving college affordability in the United States. Dr. Mendenhall was one of four higher education leaders who, along with U.S. Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter, spoke of the need to combat the rising cost of a college education.

Dr. Mendenhall spoke of WGU’s competency-based model and the online university’s use of technology as a “disruptive innovator” changing the way we think of a college education. “Even with the improvements in online learning platforms and resources, the majority of online education is simply classroom education delivered through the Internet, instructor-led and time-based. As a result, most online higher education is no more affordable than traditional education,” Dr. Mendenhall told the committee. “In contrast, WGU actually uses technology to provide interactive instruction that allows students to learn at their own pace.”

He urged the senators to support legislation that would enable and encourage competency-based learning and innovation in online and technology-driven education. He also called on them to consider a financial aid “Demonstration Project” that would allow for testing new models and innovations that could later be applied on a national scale.

See full video of the hearing on the Senate’s website. Dr. Mendenhall’s testimony begins at 185:45.