Short-Term-Credential Typology (HCM Strategists)


HCM Strategists (HCM), with support from Lumina Foundation, conducted a comprehensive examination of short-term credential pathways across the U.S. HCM analyzed all 50 states to create a catalog of direct, sustained state investments in short-term credential pathways nationwide. Findings are organized using a typology that captures these state investments within six categories:

  • Basics
  • Revenue
  • Clear Definitions
  • Equity
  • Quality/Value Assurance
  • Adjacent State Policies/Practices

Findings are organized along several key benchmarks, including:

  • Whether and how states clearly define short-term credentials to help establish a consistent understanding of these programs.
  • Whether policies are equity-centered in design and delivery, ensuring that diverse populations have equal access to these valuable learning opportunities.
  • Revenue sources and sustainability to understand how states allocate funds and maintain ongoing support.
  • Whether states commit to an assurance of value or quality, demonstrating a dedication to providing impactful, high-quality programs to learners.

HCM’s research identified 56 state-led initiatives across 29 states.  The majority (28) of these directly fund students, while a dozen more fund institutions to increase their capacity to offer student supports and/or tuition relief.

A comprehensive report and accompanying data tool will be released by HCM. The following table summarizes HCM’s Short-Term Credential Typology: Table

HCM Strategists

An impact-driven consulting firm that believes in the transformative power of education to improve social and economic mobility. For more information:

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