Today approximately 1/3 of college students are “adult learners,” meaning they’re 25 years old or older.
- What does this mean for colleges, employers, families?
- How did this trend start?
- What role does the rising cost of tuition play in this evolution of the college student?
- How important is a college degree to career success?
The Student Research Foundation explores these and other trends. College students are more complex to understand than anytime in the past few decades. As fewer high school student go straight into college, complete a degree within four years, and take on more debt than any time in history it is important for today’s students to understand their educational and career options.
In part, these changes are driven by the increase in the real cost of higher education. At the same time, research has shown that having a high-school degree, without any further preparation for employable skills, holds less potential than it once did for the opportunity of earning a living.
As a result, many people are pursuing a mix of work and education at varying times in life, with the goal of bettering their employment prospects. The pathways for success, depending upon the area of work, can include formal higher education (community college, colleges/universities) and can also encompass a wide range of other options including credential and diploma programs, coding boot camps, tailored education and training within workplaces and many other models. The rapidly changing workplace and 4th industrial revolution requires new, evolving skills, and also calls for people to be “lifelong learners.”
Your participation in the Adult Learners Survey will lead you to educational institutions and programs to help you take your next step in your career or educational plans. We will share the results of this work, in summary, form and your responses will help other students achieve their goals.