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K-State Today

September 29, 2023

K-State educational equivalency adjusted to 1-1 ratio

Submitted by Marci Ritter

Kansas State University uses an educational equivalency for certain positions in the staff compensation structure where experience and formal education may be interchangeable with regard to the ability to perform the job. Utilization of an educational equivalency often results in a broader pool of applicants from which to select the ideal candidate.

As of Oct. 1, the educational equivalency ratio for staff positions is being shifted from 2-to-1 to a 1-to-1 equivalency, meaning one year of education is equal to one year of experience and vice versa when fulfilling minimum qualifications on jobs that allow for an educational equivalency.

K-State's compensation structure, including minimum requirements, is based on the market for each type of job within the structure. Many jobs in the compensation structure note the requirement of a formal academic credential, but around one-fifth of those allow for an educational equivalency where experience and education can be substituted interchangeably, depending on appropriateness and the position responsibilities. Jobs that allow for an educational equivalency are indicated with the following statement in the description: This position may use an educational equivalency as determined relevant by a hiring manager.

According to a Burning Glass/Harvard Business Review study conducted in 2022, 64% of working-aged adults do not hold a bachelor's degree. During this time of talent shortage, many companies are reconsidering the application of the degree requirement. Evaluating applicants on their skills and aptitudes can help address skills shortages, open pathways to careers previously hidden by degree requirements and help reduce inequity by creating a more diverse workforce.

Additional benefits of this change include:

  • Reducing barriers for applicants, aligning with applicant expectations in today's job market while still ensuring appropriate experience for positions.
  • Expanding the applicant pool with individuals who have the right skills and experience but may lack a formal degree.
  • Better alignment with peer institutions.
  • Clearer guidance for hiring managers, search committee members and candidates.

For jobs that allow an educational equivalency, position supervisors make the determination on whether using an equivalency is appropriate.

A Zoom session will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5, for university constituents to connect with the compensation team to address questions related to this change. Register for the session online. Additional questions may be directed to hrcomp@k-state.edu at any time.