Elite colleges bet big on micro-degree programs
- Several colleges and universities are now offering micro degree programs in the hopes of attracting professionals interested in career development while selling full graduate degree programs in the process, NPR reported yesterday.
- MIT, Columbia University and the University of Michigan are just a few of the high research institutions attracting students through these online programs, which offer advanced credentialing in engineering, business and computer science for a fraction of tuition costs that can exceed $60,000 a year for full degrees.
- The programs, which have the same rigorous admission standards as traditional offerings, can present a challenge to some students who enroll without prior experience in the disciplines.
Micro-credentialing is the academic version of the downsizing taking place in college bookstores and mailrooms across the country, and is likely to become the future of workforce development in the four-year sector. College leaders should consider the ways in which advanced degrees can be expanded to meet the industrial needs of their surrounding regions, and in partnership with corporate entities to create professional pathways.
Affordability aside, the access to career advancement is the key selling point for credentialing programs and leaders should market the ways that college remains as the ideal access point to career and social mobility.