This report analyzed data from five states' independent reports and linked earnings data with educational information. It posits four lessons:
Lesson 1: Some short-term credentials such as sub-baccalaureate certificates and associate's degrees are worth as much as bachelor's degrees.
Lesson 2: Where you study affects earnings but not as much as commonly believed.
Lesson 3: What you study matters more than where you study; technical and occupational skills at all levels – postsecondary certificates, associate's degrees, and bachelor's degrees – have the highest earnings.
Lesson 4: The S in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is oversold.
U.S. Census Bureau statistics show a decrease in postsecondary education enrollment by almost half a million students from 2011 to 2012. This decline followed a substantial growth in enrollments from 2006 to 2011.The decline in college enrollment was greater for students 25 and older, whose enrollment fell by 419,000, compared with a decline of only 48,000 of younger students. Hispanic/Latino students were the exception to the trend, as their enrollment grew by 44,700 from 2011 to 2012. In comparison, enrollments of non-Hispanic white students declined by 1.1 million, and that of African-American students fell by 108,000.
This brief describes how digital badges can be used in higher education and the workforce. Badges are "digital credentials that represent skills, interests, and achievements earned by an individual through specific projects, programs, courses, and other activities." According to the report, badges have the potential to play an important role in competency-based higher education.
A national poll showed that the percentage of college-bound high school students using social media sites to gather information and impressions about college more than doubled, from 44 percent in 2012 to 18 percent in 2008. Of those who reported using a particular social media site, such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, or Tumblr, only half indicated that it had any effect on their decision.
PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.
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