Demand for Certificates Booms As Federal Aid Dwindles
"Approximately 22% of all postsecondary credentials earned are certificates, making them the fastest-growing type of credential in the U.S., a June 2012 report by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce states. In a difficult economy, certificates have proven to be a quick and convenient way for adults to update their skills, giving them the chance to find more job opportunities and earn higher salaries," U.S. News University Directory reports. "However, despite the many benefits of earning a certificate, The New York Times reports that federal aid is often scarce for individuals who want to earn these postsecondary credentials. Many educators are concerned that students who wish to pursue certificates do not have access to the federal financial aid they need to do so. Typically, most federal aid goes to students enrolled in associate's and bachelor's degree programs, leaving little left for those who want to update their skills with a certificate, the Times states. Currently, many certificate programs, including those needed to be a nurse's aide or HVAC technician, are not for credit. This can put students in a bind, as federal financial aid, including Pell Grants, are only given to individuals who enroll in for-credit courses. Suri Duitch, dean of continuing education at the City University of New York, told the Times that this makes earning a certificate difficult for many students. 'These programs are less expensive than the degree programs at many four-year schools, but this student population generally has fewer resources,' Duitch said. 'It's not hard to find examples of people who had to drop out of such certificate programs for financial reasons.'"
NASFAA's "Financial Aid in the News" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.