August 15, 2016

U.S. Department of Education Selects SUNY Empire State College, Flatiron School and ANSI to Participate in EQUIP Program

Federal Financial Aid Available to Innovative Partnerships for the First Time - New 24-Credit Certificate in Web Development to be Jointly Developed

SUNY Empire State College Press Release

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016) SUNY Empire State College, Flatiron School, a programming boot camp located in New York City, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) today announced a partnership to create an accelerated certificate program in web development that combines Flatiron School’s competency-based training and SUNY Empire’s foundational courses in writing and math.

The partnership has been selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) experimental program, which is designed “… to accelerate and evaluate innovation through partnerships between colleges and universities and nontraditional providers of education, in order to equip more Americans with the skills, knowledge and training they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

For the first time, the department will award title IV financial aid, such as Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Perkins Loans and federal subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans, to low-income students enrolled in an accredited college program that utilizes a nontraditional training partner to provide 50 percent of the education.

The goals of EQUIP are to:

  • learn whether permitting partnerships between institutions and nontraditional providers increases equity by providing access to innovative educational programs for students from diverse backgrounds, particularly those from low-income backgrounds
  • examine student outcomes to evaluate the effectiveness of these nontraditional providers
  • assess quality-assurance processes that are appropriate for nontraditional providers and the programs they offer
  • identify ways to protect students and taxpayers from risks in an innovative and emerging area of postsecondary education.

ANSI, the national leader in standardization and accreditation for nearly 100 years, will evaluate the program as the quality assurance entity of the partnership.

Upon completion, students will receive a 24-credit certificate in web development from SUNY Empire, which will be fully transferable into an associate or bachelor’s degree. In addition, they will have acquired high-demand job skills through Flatiron School.

“Changing many more students’ lives for the better is what our partnership with Flatiron School and ANSI, and our participation in EQUIP, is all about,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of SUNY Empire. “Flatiron School’s very successful web development program gets students that critically important first good job. When combined with our coursework, the certificate will put students on a concrete path to degree completion, which will enable them to earn promotions and dramatically expand their personal career horizons.”

“We’re excited that the government is pushing the boundaries to redefine what constitutes higher education and recognizes that there are many pathways to success and economic mobility,” said Adam Enbar, co-founder and CEO of Flatiron School. “By partnering with Empire State College through EQUIP, we’ll be able to expand access to our practical, outcomes-based coding education, which has already enabled hundreds of graduates to find fulfilling careers as developers, and helped even more people change their lives.”

“The ability to measure, assess and quantify the value of a training program is precisely what ANSI accreditation adds to the EQUIP program,” said Turan Ayvaz, director, ANSI Certificate Accreditation Program (CAP). “When a training provider earns ANSI accreditation, he or she is demonstrating to the marketplace that the certificates awarded to their students represent the best in quality education and training.”

“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,” said Under Secretary of Education Ted 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.”

“Congratulations to SUNY Empire State College and their partners for this much-deserved selection for participation in the Department of Education’s EQUIP Program,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Creating this innovative certificate program will expand college access for students through federal financial aid, support degree completion by providing a fully transferable 24-credit SUNY Empire certificate, and promote student success by providing a clear path not only to a degree – but also a career – in a high-need field. We look forward to creating this certificate with our esteemed partners Flatiron School and ANSI.”


The Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding boot camps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.

EQUIP falls under the Experimental Sites Initiative, which allows the Department to provide statutory and regulatory flexibility for postsecondary institutions and to test the effectiveness of those changes. Through the EQUIP program, the Department seeks to learn about these new models and their costs and educational and employment outcomes for students, as well as explore new methods to measure quality. Testing and learning from this program may help inform future policy reforms.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates nearly 19,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications, SUNY Empire State College

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038, cell

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