New Charter University Higher Education Breakthrough Models

New Charter Univ application deck

Targeted Degree Program: Business
Organizations: For-profit four-year institution and public two-year college 
First Year Enrollment: 100
Tuition Model: Flat monthly rate
Targeted Students: Low-income, minority students and working adults

The belief driving New Charter University is simple: people shouldn’t have to take on debt to afford college.

With that mantra, the online university is hoping to deliver relevant, self-paced, outcomes-driven learning and college degrees that any learner can afford out of pocket.

To do so, they offer all classes online, eliminating the need for brick-and-mortar classrooms, and hire faculty whose focus is entirely on supporting and teaching students based on their individual learning needs. Degrees are centered on outcomes, not credit hours, so students move on as soon as they demonstrate mastery. Tuition is based on a monthly subscription model that includes textbooks.

Although the goal is to increase access, quality and support are also important considerations. Students access all course modules through an online learning environment that includes interactive dashboards driven by performance data. At any moment they—and their faculty advisors—can get a quick snapshot of their "readiness score," an indication of their mastery of any given subject, their standing in a particular course, and any areas of concern. The interface includes specific, actionable advice that can be delivered to advisors or students.

The interface also encourages peer-to-peer collaboration and learning through discussion forums and social media tools. The goal is to help students move quickly and through a path personalized to their individual needs, without sacrificing engagement and peer interaction.

Uniquely, the university’s courses and content are freely available on the internet to any learner, whether or not they are enrolled. By eliminating the pay wall, New Charter allows prospective students to experience the system while encouraging current students to invite in their peers as mentors, guides, or potential classmates.

With NGLC funding, New Charter is partnering with a traditional community college, Santa Rosa Junior College, to study the effectiveness of the New Charter model in both a fully online and blended learning environment. The partnership will also let New Charter investigate the model’s impact on a traditional community college’s large adult learner population.

Specifically, the research partnership will provide community college students with free developmental courses (in math, reading, writing, and online learning) to support student readiness for college-level work. The research will also follow students who complete an Associate's degree from Santa Rosa Junior College, who continue to attend school online via New Charter University, providing a pathway for Santa Rosa students to complete the last two years of their Bachelor's degree program online. 

Research Study Intended Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate innovative educational technologies that can lead to effective student and faculty engagement
  • Demonstrate an educational model that can improve student success among underrepresented populations
  • Determine whether a self-paced, competency-based model can improve outcomes for nontraditionl learners
  • Assess the effectiveness of online and place-based coaching models and their impact on student success in college
  • Understand which resources and interventions most effectively move nontraditional learners from a hybrid learning experience to an online-only model