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Adult Learners and Institutions Recognized in Washington Monthly's College Guide & Rankings

The postsecondary learning landscape is changing, and adult learners are starting to be recognized across the world of higher education. In recent media articles, we’ve seen evidence of both the change in learners and in the institutions serving them.

This week, Washington Monthly’s 2018 College Guide & Rankings included its third annual ranking of the institutions that serve adult learners. I’m proud of our collaboration with the magazine, which dates back to 2016, when the CAEL team joined forces with Washington Monthly to advise them on the metrics that might be used to identify America’s best colleges for adult learners.

Paul Glastris, CEO of Washington Monthly, states that while nearly half of all college students are 25 or older, “No publication ranks the top schools for them—except us.” This year, new metrics have also been added on the graduation rates of part-time students.

CAEL members are ahead of the trend and making positive changes. I want to recognize our members for their work on improving the postsecondary landscape for adult learners. In this year’s rankings, among four-year institutions:

  • 30 of the top 100 are CAEL members, primarily institutional members, with others being system members or institutions with individual staff memberships
  • Four of the top 10 are institutional members

For two-year institutions:

  • 32 of the top 100 are CAEL members or partners, predominantly institutional members or memberships for parts of systems
  • Five of the top 10 are institutional or system members

Jobs and careers are also changing rapidly, and we are all called upon to continuously learn new skills to stay current, even within our existing roles. While advanced learning can happen in myriad ways and in many different contexts, our postsecondary education institutions are some of the most important places where working adults can go to continue that learning, build additional knowledge and skills to remain relevant in current positions, or possibly be promoted to higher-level jobs.

For more information about adults and the changing postsecondary learning landscape—particularly the advances in connecting working adults to learning opportunities—join us for the CAEL 2018 International Conference, held from November 13 to 16 in Cleveland. The annual conference will highlight evolving efforts to expand opportunities for educational attainment and the boundless opportunities for personal and professional development they provide. Learn from experts in higher education, workforce development, for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and government as they share the latest insights into adult learners and the workforce.


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If your institution or organization is seeking guidance, solutions, or support from CAEL, or if you have an idea for a future collaboration initiative with us, please reach out. We'd love to connect.

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