How can we design a higher education system to include and support the success of all learners? With changing demographics and an increased need for lifelong learning, the new traditional college student is older and more diverse. Yet, the majority of academic institutions still have rigid structures and traditional models in place that can both limit access and inhibit success for these students. Schools looking to innovate and better support diverse, working adult students can begin implementing the best practices of competency-based education – a system of teaching and learning that prioritizes actual student learning and the application of that learning rather than time spent in a classroom. CBE is intrinsically flexible, student-centric and outcomes focused – and therefore accounts for the real lives and experiences of real students.