- Short-term community-college certificates aren’t helping most students who receive them find jobs or make more money, according to a new study from Columbia University’s Community College Research Center and the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges' Career Ladders Project.
- The number of short-term certificates awarded grew 151% between 2000 and 2010, representing only 16% of sub-baccalaureate credentials awarded by two-year colleges in 2000; by 2010, they represented 25%.
- Community college leaders are disputing the findings, saying that the study’s authors are overlooking the long-term benefits of the certificates, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
The certificates in question typically take less than a year to earn, and their increase in popularity is partly due to lawmakers tying higher ed funding to the number of degrees and certificates earned by students in particular institutions or programs. But states should consider placing a higher value on associate degrees and long-term certificates earned in “high-return fields of study that are known to have positive impacts for students," according to the study’s authors. The study, which appears in the peer-reviewed Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis journal, examined data from the state of Washington.