(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana is making progress toward meeting the state's big goal of 60 percent of Hoosiers having a quality degree or credential beyond high school by 2025, thanks in part to a significant increase in postsecondary certificates that has outpaced the national average in recent years.
A new report by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education shows that certificate production has increased by nearly a third (32 percent) since 2012, with 70 percent of certificates awarded by the state's public colleges. Nearly three-quarters of these certificates took students more than one year, but less than two years to complete. Short-term certificates also saw significant growth since 2012.
"We understand that a two- or four-year degree is not the best fit for everyone, and that many Hoosiers need a shorter-term credential to get ahead," said Commissioner Teresa Lubbers. "A high-demand certificate can be a win-win option that means higher earnings for individuals and more highly-skilled workers for employers."
Certificates account for the largest growing type of credential earned by Indiana college graduates. Nearly 12,000 certificates were awarded in 2016--more than double the amount earned in 2011. The most popular areas of study for Indiana's certificate earners were business and health-related programs, accounting for more than half (55 percent) of certificates awarded.
The majority of Indiana's certificate programs are designed to be stackable--meaning credits earned can apply toward an associate or bachelor's degree. More than half (55 percent) of the state's certificate earners went on to complete an associate degree and a quarter (25 percent) earned multiple certificates in the same year.
New 'Workforce Ready' Grant to Pay for Certificates
To help more Hoosiers complete high-demand certificates, the Commission is partnering with Governor Holcomb, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and the Indiana General Assembly to create a new financial aid opportunity for adult students: the Workforce Ready Grant. Currently under consideration as part of House Bill 1008, the Workforce Ready Grant would pay the cost for adults to earn a certificate in high-demand areas aligned with the state's economy.
"We're sending a clear message to working-age Hoosiers: If you enroll in a high-demand certificate program, Indiana will make sure your costs are covered," said Lubbers.
Learn more about the Commission's 2017 Certificate Report and "Reaching Higher, Delivering Value" Strategic plan at www.che.in.gov.
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