Press "Enter" to skip to content

Some college, no degree numbers rise by 1M

Newly released data from the National Student Clearinghouse shows an increase in the number of Americans who have some college, no degree (SCND). Despite substantial and widespread efforts to reduce the number of people who have “stopped out” of a post-secondary program, states report that there are about one million more Americans with some college, no degree than there were last year.

The data don’t include students who are actively pursuing a post-secondary degree. Rather, the term SCND describes students who have not enrolled in classes in at least three consecutive terms, having previously been enrolled at a post-secondary institution. The number of SCND students increased in all states except Alaska, where the percentage of non-credentialed adults remained the same as last year. Michigan notched the second-lowest rate of increase at 1.8%. Only Illinois reported slower growth among adults at 1.2%.

While it’s good that Michigan is accumulating non-credentialed adults at a slower rate than most states, it’s bad that Michigan is still accumulating some college, no degree adults. Worse, WCC has gone ham on issuing non-degree certificates, which creates even more adult learners who have some college, no degree.

It would be awesome if WCC could find a way to get on the same page with the State of Michigan, which is trying to increase the number of people with degrees and also decrease the number of people who accumulate some college credits, but don’t finish a degree program. Rather than setting up the college to generate a high number of people who haven’t completed (and won’t complete) a college degree, why not focus our $70M+ in local tax revenues on creating degree programs and completion pathways that allow people to earn degrees.

Why should the legislature fund some college no degree?

Creating an educated workforce is essential to economic development and the well-being of both Washtenaw County and the State of Michigan. So, why not get with the program? How long will it be before the State Legislature actively discourages certificate programs for people who do not already possess a degree of some sort?

And by “discouraging,” I mean reducing funding for colleges that do not reserve certificate programs for students who have already earned a degree. Instead of wasting our tax dollars on programs that guarantee an increased number of some college, no degree adults, WCC should use the more-than-generous funding we provide it to develop high value degree programs that build workforce capacity and meet the economic development objectives of the state at the same time.

Photo Credit: Wildwise Studio, via Flickr