SHEEO Query Re Embedded short-term programs

October 6, 2017

Dear Academic Officers:

Tia Caldwell, an analyst for the Congressional Budget Office working on a proposal that shortens duration requirements for program Title IV eligibility, has asked SHEEO for help in getting an estimate on the number or percentage of short-term programs that are embedded in longer degree or certificate programs.

For context, CBO is using IPEDS under 1 year certificate completion counts as a starting point to estimate the number of programs that are currently too short to receive Pell grants. Their concern is that the IPEDS under 1 year number is an overestimate of the number of short-term programs which could become eligible, because many short certificates are embedded into longer programs. Students in these embedded certificate programs can already receive Pell, despite the short program length.

For example, at the Community College of Denver, there is an Information Technology Program which ends in an AAS degree which requires 66 credit hours, but embedded in this program is a Computer Service & Support Certificate which requires 31 credit hours. Another example at CCD is an AAS degree in Accounting which required 60 hours, but embedded in this program is a Certificate in Tax Preparation which requires 16 credit hours.

So the question is, does your state or system collect information on the credit and/or clock hours of all of programs as well as whether the program is embedded in a longer certificate or degree program?  If the answer is yes, can you provide a count of the number of less-than-one-year embedded programs out of the total number of programs, or can you give a percentage of embedded programs?

State Agency Responses can be found at this link