IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

North Dakota Offers Digital Wallets for Student Credentials

North Dakota high school students can now create digital wallets for storing transcripts, diplomas and other credentials, and the state expects colleges and employers to sign on in the coming months.

Abstract digital illustration of a hand composed of dots interconnected by lines holding up a smartphone with pages coming out of the screen. The image is light blue on a dark blue background.
North Dakota is offering high school and college students a blockchain-based digital wallet that gives them, rather than institutions, ownership of their credential documents and reduces paperwork in the process.

Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, high school students across the state were invited to create their own digital wallets through the North Dakota Education Portal, a platform that students and parents were already using to review progress reports, report cards and attendance records. The digital verifiable transcripts, diplomas and other credentials, such as technical certifications, which users can access and store on any web-browsing device, contain links to the standards and skills covered in each course they completed, North Dakota Information Technology (NDIT) spokesman Jeremy Fettig explained in an email Monday to Government Technology.

From that digital wallet, Fettig wrote, students can share those credentials with higher education institutions or employers. According to a video summary of this program on YouTube, the digital transcripts provided to colleges or employers can also include a verification code, eliminating the need to contact the student’s high school to re-verify the credential.

Fettig said this year Bismarck State College became the first school to accept digital transcripts. NDIT is working to get more schools and employers on board with this program in the months ahead.

Future partners, Fettig wrote, will include “apprenticeship programs, licensing agencies, tribal community colleges and private trainers which are all important contributors to an individual’s stackable skills, promoting a continuum of learning and experience.”

“While early in the adoption and education phase, (North Dakota) measures success based on students establishing wallets and publishing their (high school) transcripts,” Fettig wrote.

When this initiative was announced in August 2022, North Dakota officials proclaimed their state would be the first in the nation to offer this type of digital wallet credentialing for public institutions. NDIT established partnerships with a variety of technology companies as well as Walmart and the National Center for Education Statistics, according to a news release last year.

“These digital credentials are the future for North Dakota, and the nation, to allow individuals agency of their learner-employment-experience to gain access to employment opportunities,” North Dakota Chief Data Officer Ravi Krishnan said in the Aug. 24 release. “It’s a game-changer for students and lifelong learners of all ages and stages of their careers.”
Aaron Gifford has several years of professional writing experience, primarily with daily newspapers and specialty publications in upstate New York. He attended the University at Buffalo and is based in Cazenovia, NY.