Education / Federal government

StraighterLine to launch first program under U.S. Department of Education experiment

Under EQUIP, students at a Texas community college will be able to get federal financial aid to take StraighterLine's online courses.

StraighterLine CEO Burck Smith. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Baltimore-based StraighterLine is introducing a new program that allows students taking its courses at a Texas community college to access federal financial aid.
It’s the first result of StraighterLine’s participation in a U.S. Department of Education experiment called Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP). Announced in 2016, EQUIP allows colleges and universities to partner with non-traditional education providers.
Through the program, StraighterLine is partnering with Brookhaven College, which is part of the Dallas County Community College District in Texas. In two associate’s degree programs for business and criminal justice, students will be able to complete all of their coursework online. StraighterLine’s online courses, which are designed as a lower-cost, self-paced option for students, can be accessed for more than half of the coursework. Applications opened last week.
DCCCD Chancellor Joe May describes the approach this way in a statement: “In other words, they can finish college with an online degree and low-to-no debt, and in a convenient, online format that meets their needs.”
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is serving to review student outcomes and other info to ensure quality offerings.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the program is the first to get approval to enroll students under the EQUIP initiative. The initial round of programs selected for EQUIP also included an emphasis on coding programs.

StraighterLine partners with colleges to offer its courses, but the use of federal financial aid is new. When Straighterline initially joined EQUIP in 2016, CEO Burck Smith said it was a sign of further market adoption of the South Baltimore company’s approach.

Companies: StraighterLine

Join the conversation!

Find news, events, jobs and people who share your interests on's open community Slack


‘Shark Tank’ reruns and mentorship prepared Baltimore entrepreneur for her primetime moment

Baltimore daily roundup: B-360's policy moves; a foundation's fight for financial inclusion; Digital Navigator training

Baltimore daily roundup: Johns Hopkins dedicates The Pava Center; Q1's VC outlook; Cal Ripken inaugurates youth STEM center

Baltimore daily roundup: Scenes from an epic Sneaker Ball; Backpack Healthcare in Google AI accelerator; local tech figures' podcast

Technically Media