Policy That Affects Incremental Credentialing

State Systems Of Higher Education / Coordinating Boards

State systems of higher education and coordinating boards play a major role in policy. They typically do some or all the following:

  • Develop and implement postsecondary policy so that it aligns with federal and state statute.
  • Administer academic, financial aid, and workforce programs to include the review and approval of academic programs and research centers.
  • Commission and conduct research and analysis and complete data reports.
  • Set tuition rates, administer funding formulas, and allocate funds.

Governors often play a key role in these entities by appointing their CEOs.

Other Features:

Feature 1

Organizational Structures

In 28 states, there is a single statewide coordinating board, agency, or governing board; 20 states have a single statewide coordinating board or agency; eight have a single statewide governing board; the remaining have one or more major systemwide coordinating or governing board(s) and/or a statewide administrative/service agency.

Feature 2

CEO Appointments

Coordinating/governing boards appoint most postsecondary CEOs.

Feature 3

Governor’s Role

Most board members for state system and coordinating/governing boards are appointed, typically by the governor.

Feature 4


Boards often include higher education leaders and state K-12 superintendents.

Feature 5


Many boards have student members, typically appointed by the governor or selected by student government organizations.

Feature 6


Faculty members serve on some boards, usually selected by professional associations.

State examples:

New York

The State University of New York (SUNY) adopted a broad microcredential policy in 2018, following recommendations of Micro-Credentialing Task Force created in 2015. Via collaborative process and endorsed by SUNY Trustees, SUNY defined microcredentials to ensure that their rigor and quality match those of every type of credential that SUNY offers. SUNY Microcredentials (1) verify, validate, and attest that specific skills and/or competencies have been achieved; (2) are endorsed by the issuing institution; (3) are developed via established faculty governance processes; and (4) are designed to be meaningful and high quality. SUNY also has established a taxonomy of terms related to microcredentials.


Initiated by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, multiple state agencies and all public colleges and universities are working in partnership to increase credential transparency. They’re doing this with help from Credential Engine, using its Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) as the means to achieve this goal. The partnership aims to publish a critical mass of information to the IN Credential Registry, a state-specific subset of national Credential Engine Registry. While much data has already been published (more than 3,000 programs), and more is continuously added, increasing attention is now directed to integrating Registry data with tools for prospective students and other learners. These tools help learners think through their career goals and find education and training programs that can help them achieve those goals. IN’s newly licensed statewide Career Explorer software will point to the Registry for information about education and training. Through a partnership with Parchment, IN has a mature Indiana e-Transcript Program. That program, which is almost universally used at the high school-to-college level (200,000 transcripts sent annually), is now being implemented at the college-to-college level. Ivy Tech Community College has licensed Parchment’s Award Diploma Services product, which permits all of its graduates to be issued a digital credential. Each credential has a navigation link to the Registry, allowing employers to obtain all of the information about the credential and its issuing institution that has been published to the Registry – including the competencies associated with that credential.

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