Moving from a Degree-Centric Postsecondary System to an Incremental Credentialing System: What Happens to Learners’ Financing Options?

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Incremental Credentialing Framework

Playbook Sections

Additional Resources

Transfer As You Go

INCREMENTAL CREDENTIALING FRAMEWORK APPROACHES

Transfer As You Go

Strategies

  • Transfer pathways from one credential to the next across institutions or work environments.
  • Transfer pathways from pre-college, undergraduate, through graduate level – within or across institutions.
  • Transfer the same-level credential from institution A to institution B for content areas or training not offered by B.
  • Share trainings across organizations and companies.
  • Identify expected prior learning as a prerequisite to transfer into an academic or workplace program.

Examples

  • Associate level to bachelor’s level (e.g., a microcredential in business fundamentals goes toward an associate degree and is part of a transfer pathway into a bachelor’s degree; or an incremental credential in general education connects an AOS to a bachelor’s degree).
  • Bachelor’s level to master’s level (e.g., a certificate in human resources management goes toward a bachelor’s degree and is part of a transfer pathway into a master’s degree).
  • Transfer agreement between two baccalaureate programs for a specialty area (e.g., a microcredential in museum studies is offered at institution A and is built into an art and history degree at institution B through an articulation agreement).
  • Partnership agreement to share training across two businesses (e.g., one company provides general training while the other offers specialized training; employees from both companies can take training from either).
  • Prior experiences are a requirement to enter an academic program or employment training (e.g., prior documented police experience is required for a graduate-level program in criminal justice).
  • Industry-recognized credentials that transfer across organizations and workplaces (CompTia certifications, HR certifications through SHRM, OSHA certifications, manufacturing certifications, nursing certifications).

Things to Consider

  • How can academic programs work together across departments, degree levels, or institutions to create transfer pathways incorporating incremental credentials?
  • What cost savings can be achieved by sharing resources across departments, degree levels, or institutions?
  • How can different companies and/or organizations work together across departments or training programs to create transfer pathways that incorporate incremental credentials?
  • How can workforce development and job succession be connected through “transfer-like” agreements?
  • How can prior learning or prior credentials be built into transfer pathways?

Why Use This Strategy

  • Supports persistence and completion by developing integrated pathways across the levels of credentials.
  • Gives learners clear, transparent choices on how to gain credentials needed for work and school.
  • Enables cost sharing when pathways extend across departments, degree levels, and/or institutions.

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