About the Problem

A college education is often unaffordable, inaccessible or incomplete for many students.

The higher education system needs more avenues for certification beyond just an associate's or bachelor's degree.

Education

About the Policy

Create new types of accreditation beyond high school, college and graduate school degrees, to include accreditation (e.g. digital badges or micro-degrees) that recognizes the acquisition of specific skills such as computer coding or leadership training.

Public Support

76% of All Polled
85% of Democrats
69% of Republicans
72% of Independents

Polling data derived from three national surveys conducted by Cohen Research Group in February and March 2016. Each survey had a sample size of at least 1,000 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%

Read More

Going to school offers both a way to learn and a widely accepted way to prove to potential employers that you’ve achieved a certain level of skills. But the 21st century employment market requires more flexible avenues of accreditation that just the standard high school, associate, bachelor and Master’s Degrees.

Right now, a student who is four credits short of an associate’s degree doesn’t have much to show a potential employer. But that doesn’t mean the student hasn’t learned anything.

In order to create a wider, more accessible path to high-tech entry-level jobs, there needs to be a concerted push for the creation of new types of accreditation beyond high school, college and graduate school degrees, to include accreditation (e.g. digital badges or micro-degrees) that recognizes the acquisition of specific skills such as computer coding or leadership training.

These smaller, more specific accreditations can lift restrictions that currently exist within our education system. If a high school senior graduates today and aspires to be an app developer, the rising costs of college tuition may discourage them from pursuing a degree in software engineering. However, a one-year micro-degree or digital badge in Android development could cost only a few thousand dollars and lead to an entry-level position at a blossoming startup. 

Stuart M. Butler of the Brookings Institution predicted a bright future for micro-degrees in a report released in February of last year: 

“With the emergence of employer-credentialed multiple-course programs, it is only a matter of time before enterprising colleges or other entrepreneurs start assembling comprehensive degree programs consisting of microdegrees supplemented by other experiences, such as a semester abroad and time at a small liberal arts college.”

Our accreditation system cannot afford to fall behind job and technology trends. If the U.S. wants to continue to be a leader in global innovation, we must present our students with a wide range of affordable and attainable skills and accreditations to succeed in the present job market.