By Kevin Ezzell Director of Accelerated & Graduate Programs, Albright College Board Member, Council for Accelerated Programs
Leaders from accelerated programs in 17 states and one United States territory convened in Denver, Colorado August 4-6 for the Council for Accelerated Programs (CAP) annual conference. Having attended a number of conferences focused on adult education, the CAP conference always stands out as one that prioritizes collaboration, where all participating institutions are working towards implementing best practices in accelerated and online learning.
Please join us this fall in Denver, Colorado as we convene practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders in the field of adult college completion. Our Annual Workshop will feature a variety of sessions designed to share promising strategies for increasing the completion rates of returning adult students and facilitate networking opportunities for attendees.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is the primary source for data on colleges, universities, and technical and vocational postsecondary institutions in the United States. The system is managed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and provides publically available data on all postsecondary institutions which participate in federal student financial aid programs. NCES collects data on a variety of topics—such as enrollments, institutional prices and graduation rates—from institutions through a system of interrelated surveys. While IPEDS contains a wealth of information and serves as an important resource, it has long had a serious drawback for those interested in returning adult students. Critical topics such as graduation and retention rates have been calculated using only “first-time, full-time” students, excluding those with prior college credit who return to complete a credential. However, NCES will implement a new Outcome Measures component including non-first-time and part-time students in their 2015-2016 Winter data collection.
A new report from Higher Ed Insight finds that, while interest in adult college completion is at an all-time high, colleges and universities must change their policies and practices to better serve students who return to college as adults. Using data from a range of sources, the report explores the challenges adult students face when returning to college and identifies effective practices for supporting these students when they do return to school. The report also examines the role of local, state, and national partnerships that bring together higher education and workforce entities to engage this prospective student population, recognizing the importance of employment and career advancement to many returning adult students.
This year’s National Institute on the Assessment of Adult Learning convened adult learning experts, practitioners, and enthusiasts in Philadelphia for a deep dive into Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). As a first time attendee, it was fascinating to learn about the many different ways institutions are leveraging PLA to attract, retain, and graduate adult students. Below are two key takeaways from my time surrounded by PLA experts (though it should be noted these were limited by my inability to attend all of the concurrent sessions).
WICHE's latest publication "POLICY EXCHANGES - Collaboration and Coordination to Improve Adult College Completion Efforts" explores research on the common characteristics of effective multi-stakeholder collaborations, with a particular focus on initiatives working to tackle complex social challenges. The brief includes examples of collaborative efforts that are uniting diverse stakeholders to support adult degree completion at the state and local level.
A number of new reports with relevance for those working with returning adults have been released this spring. This week’s post provides an overview of two of these, a policy brief from the Education Commission of the States on state financial aid and a report on the results of a recent survey of adults’ perceptions of the costs and benefit s of postsecondary education from the American Enterprise Institute.
Earlier this month, Lumina Foundation released their 2015 edition of the A Stronger Nation through Higher Educationreport. The report is issued annually and examines the nation’s progress towards meeting Lumina’s Goal 2025, which calls for 60 percent of working-age Americans to hold a degree or other high-quality postsecondary credential by 2025. Primarily using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, the authors present a detailed picture of higher education attainment in the United States at the metropolitan, county, and state levels. While Lumina highlights progress in postsecondary attainment over the past few years, the overarching theme of the report is that we must do more over the next 10 years to achieve Goal 2025. In particular, the report calls for accelerating the postsecondary attainment rate through: improved enrollment, persistence, and completion, particularly by underrepresented students; support for adults’ efforts to return to college; and recognition of all forms of high-quality postsecondary credentials.
Last Monday – April 6, 2015–Starbucks announced updates to their College Achievement Plan (CAP), which provides tuition reimbursement to employees admitted to Arizona State University’s online degree program. For employees of corporate-owned Starbucks (about 60 percent of U.S. stores) who work 20 or more hours per week, CAP reimburses the out-of-pocket costs of tuition to ASU Online after all other types of financial aid have been applied. Participating employees also receive a tuition discount, funded by ASU, equivalent to about a 42 percent reduction in tuition costs. The program was launched in June of 2014, and currently enrolls about 2,000 Starbucks employees.
As many who work in the world of adult college completion know all too well, tracking down relevant data can be tough. With a significant proportion of publicly available data focused on first-time, full-time students, identifying trends among adult learners with prior credit is challenging. However, over the past few months, some promising new resources have emerged.