Distance Education Demonstration Program

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Project Descriptions - Capella University
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Capella University is a private, for-profit institution that serves adult students. Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Schools of Business, Education, Human Services, Psychology, and Technology at Capella University offer doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degrees and non-degree certificates. Capella delivers almost all of its curricula via online courses which are offered during four academic quarters beginning in January, April, July, and October. Capella courses are designed to provide working adults with access to higher education while maintaining academic quality and facilitating a high level of interaction between instructors and learners.


Capella has been granted waivers of the 50 percent rules pertaining to number of courses and number of students and a waiver of the provision that defines a telecommunications student as a correspondence student when 50 percent or more of the courses are offered by telecommunications and correspondence. As an online university, Capella offers virtually no credit-bearing coursework in conventional, face-to-face educational settings, yet delivers educational outcomes comparable to those delivered at "bricks and mortar" institutions.

Having focused sharply on learners' achievement of course-level competencies and program-level outcomes, Capella is confident that the waiver of the seat-time rules at the heart of the Distance Education Demonstration Program is appropriate with respect to both pedagogical practice and financial aid regulations. Capella continues to conduct research to validate this conclusion.

Financial Aid Issues/Alternatives

Disbursement and Enrollment Verification: Capella is working to better structure course and program workloads so as to encourage full-time enrollment, to help learners make faster progress through their programs, and to incur less overall debt.

Indebtedness: Capella can partially address the problem of learner indebtedness by providing better counseling and information regarding debt to learners when they matriculate and as they work towards their degrees.

Additional Goals for Participation

Program Purpose #1
Increase student access to advanced degree programs through the use of technology-mediated instruction.
Institutional Goal #1: Increase enrollment of qualified mid-career adults over the five years of participation in the Demonstration Program.

Program Purpose #2
Demonstrate that increasing the number of courses offered, and students taught via technology-mediated learning (and particularly online courses) beyond 50 percent of an institution's totals, does not result in any measurable degradation of the quality of the educational experience nor in any sacrifice in the integrity of the Title IV programs.
Institutional goal #2: Attain specific cumulative online course completion and three-year graduation rate goals.
Institutional goal #2.3: Effectively manage loan defaults.
Institutional goal #2.4: Demonstrate effectiveness of learning experiences and outcomes and of various methods of assessing learning; evaluate methods of Web-based delivery systems.

Program Purpose #3
Determine the appropriate level of federal assistance for students enrolled in distance education programs.
Institutional goal#3: Evaluate appropriate level of federal assistance for students enrolled in distance education programs.

Program Purpose #4
Establish a security system for validation of student identity.
Institutional goal#4: Utilize, measure and enhance capacity to monitor status of participation of students in online courses.

Consortial Agreements/Partnerships

Capella has a variety of relationships with other education institutions, including:

University of California -- Irvine, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Davis offer certificate programs in Project Management that are articulated with Capella's MS in Information Technology (specialization in Project Management) and certificate programs in Human Resource Management that are articulated with Capella's MS in Organization and Management (specialization in Human Resource Management).

Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University is contracted to offer full range of online library resources (e.g., article databases, World Wide Web sites, as well as interlibrary loan services) to Capella learners.

"Alliance Partner" Community Colleges. Capella offers graduates of partner schools streamlined application and credit-transfer processes for programs in Schools of Business or Technology. A sample of partners: City College of San Francisco, Colorado Community College System, Brevard Community College, University of Hawaii Community College System, City Colleges of Chicago, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges, Dallas County (Texas) Community College District, Wisconsin Technical College System.

Augsburg College hires faculty who work with Capella staff to develop and teach, under Capella's auspices, numerous general education undergraduate courses (degree conferred by Capella).

Demonstration Program Cohort

Capella University joined the Distance Education Demonstration Program in July 1999 as part of the initial cohort.

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Last Modified: 04/16/2007