Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees


Certificates have grown to become the second most common postsecondary award in the U. (over 1 million are awarded each year). This report looks at certificates in the context of rising college costs and student loan debt. Certificates, which are cheaper and take less time to complete than college degrees, have become of increasing interest to researchers, institutions, and other stakeholders in higher education. The authors analyze the institutions that most commonly award certificates—such as community colleges and for-profit institutions—and the states where certificates are most prevalent and provide the highest earnings returns.


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