News & Events / Free Online Tool Now Available to Help Institutions of Higher Education Sift Through Data to Identify Students With Unawarded Credentials

Free Online Tool Now Available to Help Institutions of Higher Education Sift Through Data to Identify Students With Unawarded Credentials

Published Jun 17, 2021

Developed by IHEP, in conjunction with LXStudio, the Degree Mining Tool provides “action-ready” strategies without the need for additional technology or resources

(Washington, DC – June 17, 2021) – Credentials earned but not awarded are a missed opportunity for students, their families, and entire communities, not to mention the postsecondary institution where the credentials were earned. To avoid leaving credentials on the table, institutions can undertake degree auditing to analyze a student’s academic progress toward a degree and identify students eligible for a degree or near completion. While a valuable tool to confer earned degrees, re-engage near completers, and ensure students reap the full value of their hard work, the auditing process can be burdensome, even for the most well-resourced institutions.

Given how much data sifting this process requires – and what a treasured find a credential that has been earned but not yet awarded is – the Institute for Higher Education (IHEP) refers to auditing as “degree mining.” To support institutions of all sizes in this process, IHEP joined forces with LXStudio, an innovative data-focused initiative at the University of Central Oklahoma, to create the Degree Mining Tool, a free online support for institutions to easily and affordably identify and award earned credentials or re-engage students who have stopped out just short of a degree. Drawing on extensive experience and practical insights learned through Degrees When Due, IHEP’s national initiative to increase degree attainment among the “some college, no degree” population, institutions can immediately put the Degree Mining Tool to use without the need for additional technology or resources.

“Data show that Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and underrepresented AAPI students are 30% more likely than White students to need to stop out before completing a degree. Degree mining and adult reengagement are equity imperatives, which is why we created the Degree Mining Tool,” said Mamie Voight, IHEP’s interim president. “We know that institutions have invested considerable resources in data systems, so rather than create yet more technology, we built this free tool to effectively and efficiently leverage institutions’ existing technology and catalyze equity-driven degree mining efforts.”

“Given the diversity of institutional approaches, bandwidth, and needs, there is no one-size-fits-all technical solution to streamline the degree mining process. Knowing this, we designed the Degree Mining Tool to provide action-ready strategies to immediately meet the needs of a variety of institutions,” added Leanne Davis, associate director of research and policy. “The tool provides step-by-step, easy-to-understand instructions that walk the user through the technical resources that are right for them and their student information system.”

By easing the burden on campus team members involved in the degree mining process, such as registrars and information technology professionals, this innovative tool will directly benefit the students who are awarded a credential or are able to find a clearer path to degree completion. The tool was developed with support from the Degree Mining Tool Working Group, a committee of 12 institutional representatives and learning technology experts across the country who understand the importance of streamlined degree audits and the need for institutions to develop their own solutions.