Highlights from Higher Ed: Microcredentials, Community College Transfers, Letters of Recommendation and Employer-Paid Tuition

Aug 30, 2021

College Leaders See Promise in Microcredentials

A recent survey of more than 600 campus leaders revealed that 71% believe offering “alternative credentials” has the potential to boost revenue and enrollment at their institutions. However, only 60% said “credential initiatives” are closely aligned with their schools’ strategic plans. Slightly more than half (54%) said their schools have embraced new types of credentialling, compared with 30% who said otherwise. “The basic idea of the microcredential is that the student can complete the credential on his or her own timeline rather than through a fixed period; focus on a discrete set of skills and knowledge; and prove competency or mastery by providing evidence and artifacts, such as videos that show the new skills in use. Traditionally, microcredentials have gained pickup among continuing, professional and workforce education providers.”

Source: Campus Technology

Community College Transferees Graduate at a Higher Rate than Other Transferees and High School Graduates

Although transferees from community colleges represent only 5% of students at the 100 “most selective colleges” in the country, those students typically outperform other types of students. As a result, “overlooking this population misses a bulk of the potential pipeline for diverse talent.” According to one recent study of graduation rates among various admissions categories, community college transfer students had a 75% six-year graduation rate, compared with 73% of students who entered college directly after high school and 61% of those who had transferred from another four-year institution. “To foster economic mobility and provide the diversity that selective colleges and universities, not to mention employers, are seeking, it’s imperative that we do a better job of getting community college students into competitive colleges and universities.”

Source: Forbes

More Business Schools Now Require Just One Recommendation Letter

It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that potential business school students will need to submit more than a single letter of recommendation with their applications. London Business School has become the latest institution to require just one recommendation, adding itself to a group of top business schools that includes MIT Sloan, Columbia Business School and IESE Business School. “This trend toward fewer MBA letters of recommendation is positive for candidates, as well as the recommenders who are asked to be their outspoken champions. Younger candidates can find it hard to identify two recommenders, so it removes a barrier to entry. It also takes the pressure off referees who are often asked to write multiple references each year.” However, it also puts added pressure on the applicant, because “the recommender has to be stellar.”

Source: Poets & Quants

Desperate for Workers, Large Retailers Are Offering to Pay 100% of Tuition for Employees

Following in the steps of Chipotle, Starbucks and Walmart, retail giant Target has announced that it will pay 100% of workers’ undergraduate tuition. Target’s promise also includes paying for all textbooks and fees at any of the more than 40 schools participating in its program, as well as helping to pay for master’s programs. Full- and part-time employees will be eligible to receive the benefits as soon as they are hired. “Target will cover the full cost for 250 programs aligned to its business, such as computer science, information technology and business management. If an employee chooses a different specialty or seeks a graduate degree, Target will pay up to $5,250 for non-master’s degrees and up to $10,000 for master’s degrees each year in direct payments to the academic institution.”

Source: CNBC

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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.