SHEEO Query: Policies and procedures in place for certificate programs

On July 18, 2013, SHEEO sent the following query to Academic Officers:

Our public 4-year institutions currently do not have any of their certificate programs entered in the state’s Student Unit Record Data System, and so are not reporting enrollment or completion in those programs nor are they reported to IPEDS. We are exploring the possibility of entering the 4-year institutions’ certificate programs in SURDS so they can report enrollment and completion and “get credit” for their students who obtain those credentials.  As this is new for us, we have several questions on which we hope you can provide guidance.

Generally, the big question is: What policies, procedures and/or requirements does your state have in place for certificate programs offered at the baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate and graduate levels?

Specifically, the more pointed questions are:

1. Are “certificates” limited to stand-alone programs that are not a part of any degree? (Some certificates are akin to emphasis areas within a bachelor’s, for instance, and since the students are already enrolled in and completing the bachelor’s, it might not make sense to list that certificate/emphasis area separately from the degree.)

2. Are four-year institutions permitted to offer certificates at the undergraduate level, lower-division? Does your state require certificates at four-year institutions to be at least 50% upper-division?

3. Have you had any contact with the IPEDS staff over their certificate program definitions and can you share any knowledge you’ve gained from them?

4. Can you share any institutional reactions, either pro or con, to capturing and reporting certificates?

See state responses here.