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

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Learner Supports

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Commonly Implemented Learner Supports

Learner Supports

Commonly Implemented Learner Supports

Learner support services are important in credentialing because they:

  • Help learners cope with the academic and personal pressures of learning.
  • Help learners maintain academic, emotional, and social ties to the institution.
  • Give learners confidence to continue and succeed in their educational and career journeys.
  • Help learners make connections between their academic and workplace learning.

Credential providers can enhance the overall learning experience, promote student success, and address the diverse needs of their student population by incorporating support services.

These services often include a combination of the following:

Academic and Career Supports: Learners benefit from a variety of academic services that support skill development and contribute to their overall success, including:

  • Combined career and academic advising to acquaint learners with the range of available career options and connect them to appropriate academic programs
  • Advice and assistance in course and program selection, transcript evaluation, and degree audits
  • Academic tutoring (including co-curricular options)
  • Mentoring programs

Financial and Wraparound Supports: The growth of incremental credentials has brought with it a diverse set of learners with differing needs for financial assistance. Whether degree-seeking or not, these learners—often face financial challenges that traditional financial aid—a system geared toward full-time enrollment—can’t address. Yet there are other sources of funding, and learners need help to sort through these options. Financial support services may include:

  • Information on federal student financial aid programs and benefits, including grants and work-study options.
  • Information about the variety of federal, state, institutional, employer, and workforce dollars available to support incremental credentials.
  • Financial counseling that can help learners blend or braid different sources of aid to cover learning expenses—including tuition, books and materials, and other educational items.
  • Assistance in completing financial aid applications, including the
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Wraparound Supports: Learners who pursue incremental credentials are often adults who must juggle school, work and family obligations. They often are first-generation learners, or others who face significant barriers to success in their educational experience. All may require more holistic wraparound services, including:

  • Full or partial payment toward basic needs such as food and transportation
  • Childcare vouchers for hours spent in classes
    Emergency assistance with rent or other expenses (provided on a case-by-case basis)
  • Help with obtaining health care services, counseling, and wellness programs
  • Legal assistance
  • Assistance in securing housing

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