“Kansas’ partnership with Credential Engine offers an exciting opportunity for us to make higher education more transparent, improve comparison across state lines, articulate credit for military experience, and indicate high-demand credentials within the state. Families need access to these data points in order to make the best decisions about the educational options available to them. Our institutions also benefit from having that information to better understand the core competencies provided by our system.”
-Dr. Blake Flanders, President and CEO, Kansas Board of Regents
Kansas Board of Regents (Lead)
Public Postsecondary Institutions
The lead agency for the partnership is the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR), which serves as the coordinating board for all public institutions in the state. Leaders at KBOR have committed to advancing credential transparency statewide because they believe deeply in its value. From the early days of the partnership, they recognized the importance of championing the work and garnering support. According to Nathan Snyder, one of the leaders of this work, “The number one thing to prepare before starting this project is to be ready for collaboration. You really need to become a facilitator and create avenues to include the perspective of every department. We understood that only by working cross-departmentally would we be able to get both the data we needed but also the buy-in to ultimately use that data. This transformed how the Kansas Board of Regents collects and connects our education and training data to better understand and provide opportunities for people.”The KBOR team quickly coordinated outreach and worked closely with each institution to ensure they understood the value and had what they needed to publish to the Credential Registry. This allowed KBOR to set the ambitious goal to publish information about all credit-bearing credentials offered at all public postsecondary institutions to the Registry.
The First State to Publish via API
In 2019, Kansas became the first state to utilize the application programming interface (API) method to publish to the Credential Registry. As a result, whenever KBOR’s internal systems receive updates from the institutions, those same updates are automatically pushed to the Registry. There are now nearly 2,500 credentials from Kansas in the Registry, including 100% of postsecondary certificates and degrees. The KBOR team has also had a pivotal role in fostering and supporting the network of Credential Engine state partners. They frequently share best practices and meet with other states who are looking to publish via API.
Going Beyond the Minimum
The data published by KBOR goes beyond Credential Engine’s minimum data policy–a critical development that will ensure people have access to richer information. KBOR’s scope of work continues to expand as they find innovative ways to ensure transparent information gets in the hands of Kansans–including:
Publishing financial assistance opportunities and additional relevant information that contributes to improved information about quality indicators.
Collaborating with Credential Engine’s CTDL working group to show which programs and schools in the state award credit for prior learning for military training. Using the CTDL for this purpose will make the information more readily available and connected to more detailed information about those credentials, and will also encourage expansion of providing credit for prior learning.
They will soon publish key outcomes data through integration with Kansas DegreeStats, KBOR’s degree comparison tool. The data will include earnings and employment information that will help opportunity seekers make better informed decisions about credentials and their value.
Moving Forward with Credential Transparency
The availability of credential information in a common, consistent language has significantly enhanced KBOR’s ability to share data with other state agencies and contributed to their larger goal of increasing visibility and comparability across state lines. State leaders are using linked open data as a catalyst to make more intentional connections–not just within their own state, but also across the entire Midwest region.