If you’re a student, professor, member of faculty, or have any other affiliation to higher education right now, you know that the last few months have been tough. The typical college experience that thousands of students had come to expect from their chosen universities imploded during the last few months of the school year due to a global pandemic. Distance learning became the norm. Exams were taken virtually. Graduations were canceled. No one had enough time to prepare for the immediate circumstances, but now that the school year has come to an end, colleges and universities have the summer to prepare for the future of higher education.
Without the promise of the full college experience, including face-to-face learning opportunities, fraternities and sororities, football games, and parties, and a seemingly never-ending supply of other educational venues students can explore, what’s the draw to a traditional 4-year school?
The value, price, and actual product that colleges and universities have sold students in the last two generations practically vanished overnight with the onslaught of COVID-19. Student loan debt was already pushing high school graduates to alternative learning opportunities like boot camps, trade schools, and internships that would allow them to gain skills without having to graduate with crippling debt and to enter the workforce with defined skills, as opposed to generalized degrees. Those alternatives typically come with a credential that serves in lieu of a traditional diploma and allows students a fast-track to the workforce.
For students who still want a 4-year degree, getting a paper diploma probably isn’t going to cut it anymore. Public, state universities are facing decreased federal funding which, in turn, will result in a more selective application and enrollment process. This trickle effect will likely mean that once affordable and accessible options like community colleges are suddenly going to become more selective, pricy, and elite.
Not all is lost. Higher education institutions can offer students the most bang for their buck, so to speak. One way to do that is to offer digital credentials. The University of Vermont pivoted its offerings quickly at the beginning of the global shutdown and offered credentials that validated distance learning capabilities. Colleges and universities that want to show their incoming classes (as well as their faculty) that they’re forward-facing and innovative will have to do the same before the start of the next school year.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your institution can get a digital credentialing program up and running quickly, fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.