Benchmark This!

Latest Trends Impacting Marketing and Higher Education
from Director of UPCEA's Center for Research and Strategy, Jim Fong

UPCEA/Pearson Survey: Demographic Shifts in Educational Demand and the Rise of Alternative Credentials

To thrive in today’s fast-evolving job market, students need flexible ways to quickly develop and demonstrate new skills. Alternative credentialing helps solve this problem.

UPCEA and Pearson surveyed 190 institutions to determine the role alternative credentials play in higher education. Learn more about the key findings and download the complete report, Demographic Shifts in Educational Demand and the Rise of Alternative Credentials.

The major findings of this study include:

  • Alternative credentials are offered by 94% of institutions profiled.
  • One in five institutions offers digital badges.
  • Digital badges are most commonly offered in business-related domains.
  • Institutions with corporate engagement consistently valued alternative credentialing more than institutions that did not.
  • Sixty-four percent of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreed that their unit sees alternative credentialing as an important strategy for its future. 

Click here to download the full report. 

Jim Fong, UPCEA

Lead consultant Jim Fong, the founding director of UPCEA’s Center for Research and Strategy, has extensive background in marketing at Penn State, as well as experience in private industry. Jim brings a rich understanding of the dynamics driving today’s higher education leaders, providing research-driven strategy and positioning. Jim often presents at UPCEA’s regional and national conferences, sharing vital information with attendees.

Do you need help with your PCO unit or campus? We can help. Contact UPCEA's Center for Research and Strategy for a brief consult. Email [email protected] or call us at 202-659-3130.

Whether you need benchmarking studies, or market research for a new program, UPCEA Consulting is the right choice.

We know you. We know the challenges you face and we have the solutions you need. We speak your language and have been serving leaders like you for more than 100 years. UPCEA consultants are current or former continuing and online higher education professionals who are experts in the industry—put our expertise to work for you.


Data that tells your story.

Whether you need to assess the viability of a new program, find out how you stack up with the competition or would like a program portfolio review, we can assist with research and data that will help move your unit forward. Your decisions impact the quality of your operation, as well as the bottom line. We’ll provide data that does more than sit on a page—it’s data that tells the story.

The UPCEA Center for Research and Strategy offers a variety of custom research options through a variable pricing model.


Click here to learn more.

Other UPCEA Updates + Blogs

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One size doesn’t fit all — Differences among Boomer learners, retirees, and the mature adult learner BOSTON, MA and WASHINGTON, DC (July 29, 2022) – Driven by Baby Boomer retirements and the Great Resignation, a new wave of mature learners is looking at options in continuing education – but not necessarily to learn new job skills,…

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Read Ray Schroeder’s perspective on the metaverse and augmented reality.  We are embarking on an online environment transformation that is every bit as revolutionary as the inception of the Web browser in 1992.  The Metaverse will supplant the browser for many of our activities.  We will immerse ourselves through avatars to engage in commerce, education, and social…

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Innovating Off the Degree Backbone

The National Student Clearinghouse continues to report sobering statistics on higher education enrollments[i].  Their Spring 2022 report shows that undergraduate enrollment fell by 662,698, as compared to the prior year.  In addition, spring graduate enrollments were relatively flat, but still falling by 22,337.  With the predicted demographic cliff looming nearby, a decade of tuition increases…

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Announcing a new direction for UPCEA’s Regions

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Google’s low-cost certificate program aims to help jumpstart tech careers (The College Fix)

Google is making headway with a less expensive and self-paced option to earn digital certifications amid a decline in college enrollment. Google advertises the certification programs as a low-cost option to an expensive and time-consuming four-year higher education pathway. According to the tech giant, a certificate can be earned in three to six months applying…

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