Develop a business plan



The partnership has to develop a business plan for the joint micro-credential programme, which is dependent from a set of parameters, depending from national and institutional policies and strategies:
Benefit from public funding;
Agree on a fee structure;
Seek recognition and funding by external stakeholders;
Provide scholarships;
ensure a fair allocation to partners;
connect with institutional business models for continuing education;
Integrate the micro-credential programme in wider degree programmes


Benefit from public funding

National funding of micro-credential programmes can vary widely from country to country. In some countries, these programmes are not recognized for funding.

Recognition would ensure that they are funded as independent continuing education offerings and as a pathway to degree programmes.

Project funding is supportive, but not sufficient to ensure the long-term sustainability of a micro-credential programme.

In a start-up phase, micro-credential programmes could eventually be funded as strategic experiments by European programmes such as Erasmus+ or the European Social Fund.

Most importantly, the development of joint micro-credential programmes is funded under the European Universities Initiative (EUI), through which alliances develop innovative educational formats for blended or online continuing education.

Agree on a fee structure

The partners jointly determine a registration fee for the micro-credential programme. Ultimately, they can differentiate this fee for individual and collective subscriptions. They must ensure that individual fees are affordable for learners.

A complicating factor is that higher education tuition fees generally vary from country to country and in some countries even tuition fees are not paid.

When determining fees, partners must balance the fees in different national systems and other public and private revenue streams on the one hand, and the operational costs of the programme on the other.

They may consider that online programmes are more scalable and therefore the marginal cost per student may be lower, which may affect the fee structure for the programme.

Seek recognition and funding by external stakeholders

In some areas relevant to employability and innovation, partners can spark the interest of external stakeholders such as companies, business sectors or professional organizations to recognize and support a micro-credential programme, for example through sectoral funds.

In some countries, personal learning accounts are created that support students to participate in continuing education programmes.

Provide scholarships

In the case of high enrollment fees, joint micro-credential programmes may provide scholarships to individual students sponsored by companies or other stakeholders.

Ensure a fair allocation to partners

In public funding, partners are bound by national regulations. When developing business models, fees and private funding streams can be allocated to partners based on their actual contribution to the programme.

Connect with institutional business models for continuing education

Joint micro-credential programmes are an integral part of an institution’s continuing education provisions. At the same time, they are co-owned by each individual partner university. Therefore, within this common framework, they should be managed as a separate entity in each institution. In order to promote innovation, the revenue streams for
micro-credential programmes should be allocated directly to the faculty and to the joint programme board.

Integrate the micro-credential programme in a wider degree programme

Universities can also valorize micro-credential programmes in wider bachelor or master degree programmes as a major or minor track. As such, they can also be presented to other universities as a mobility window.

next chapter: Develop a student recruitment plan
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back to overview: Models and guidelines for the design and development
of a joint micro-credential programme in higher education