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Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Bachelor’s Degrees Dip, but Work-Related Certificates Trend Upward

Bachelor’s Degrees Dip, but Work-Related Certificates Trend Upward

By Vince Conti


The number of undergraduates in the U.S. who completed a postsecondary degree in the 2022-23 academic year fell for the second year in a row.

A report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center posted April 11 shows the year-over-year change in the number of students completing bachelor’s degrees fell by 3% after a similar decline last year of 2.8%.

The trend was even more pronounced when considering community college associate degrees, where the year-over-year decline in 2022-2023 was 7.3%, following a 3% decline in 2021-2022.

What is different is a significant uptick in the number of students completing certificates, up 4% this year and 4.8% last year.

The report states: “Fewer students earned an associate degree this year than in any of the last ten years, and bachelor’s degree earners declined to their lowest level since 2015-2016.” The only thing pushing the numbers in a positive direction is the fact that “more students earned a certificate this year than in any of the last ten years.”

The range of credentials available has grown in recent years, presenting students who don’t feel they need or want a full degree with opportunities to enhance job prospects by earning a certificate.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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