Romney, Hickenlooper Introduce Bill to Promote Competency-Based Education

Affirms important role Utah’s Western Governors University plays in preparing students for the workforce

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) today introduced the Competency-Based Education Act of 2023, bipartisan legislation which will codify the Department of Education’s regulations governing the eligibility of competency-based education (CBE) programs. Western Governors University, a private, non-profit online university based in Millcreek, Utah, is recognized as a nationwide leader in CBE. The legislation would cement competency-based education in federal law, highlighting the importance of CBE programs—like those offered at Western Governors University—as a recognized, viable alternative to other traditional higher education programs.

“As a society, we must ensure that people from all walks of life have the skills and training necessary for the jobs of the future,” Senator Romney said. “This legislation is one way Congress can take to make it easier for Americans to learn specific skills and get well-paying jobs without accruing mountains of debt. Importantly, it also affirms Utah’s own Western Governors University as a model for competency-based education.”

“A ‘one size fits all’ approach to education leaves too many behind,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “Our bill helps higher education institutions meet students where they are. Treating them as individuals ensures more of them will graduate.”


Competency-based education (CBE) is a pedagogical model that focuses on a student’s mastery of a subject through demonstrated skills and real-world performance, rather than by time in a classroom. Western Governors University has used the CBE model since its founding, offering workforce readiness to students at a lower cost than other tradition higher education programs. The Department of Education’s regulations governing the eligibility of competency-based education programs were crafted in a thorough negotiated rulemaking process under the Trump Administration. A copy of the bill text can be found here.