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As Colleges Cut Services, Adult Students Suffer

In a time when the importance of supporting our nation’s adult learners has never been clearer, The Hechinger Report shares news of service cuts that could undermine efforts to encourage adult degree completion.

According to the article, university budget cuts are causing institutions to drop services, like daycare centers, which could be essential in determining whether pursuing a degree is feasible for adult students. For an adult student who might have a fulltime job, a family to support, or both, these services are instrumental for institutions’ efforts to increase adult student persistence and retention, acting as a bulwark against flagging rates in both metrics for adults.

As we’ve seen, today’s student looks markedly different than the 18-22 year olds typically shown in colleges’ marketing photos. While it would be unfair to suggest that these inaccurate depictions of today’s student is reflected elsewhere in academia, the service cuts described in the article do speak to a need to provide greater support for a significant population of students that’s sometimes left out of the conversation.

This institutional support, the article notes, served as significant component of Dr. Daniel Greenstein’s keynote session on the state of adult learners during last month’s 2016 CAEL Annual Conference. It’s not enough for us to focus on adult students’ preparedness to handle college, Greenstein noted; was must also ask “How student-ready are our colleges?”

To read the full article on The Hechinger Report, click here.


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