The Edge: What Adult Students Need Now

Undergraduate enrollment continues to fall, but the most notable demographic data point in this trend is that we’re seeing the biggest decline among students ages 25 to 29. From the fall of 2019 to this fall, that age group’s enrollment has dropped by about 12 percent, nearly twice the overall drop.

Given that, it seemed like the right time to check in with the leaders of two national organizations devoted to helping older students — Earl Buford, president of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, and Sallie Glickman, co-founder of the Graduate! Network — to hear what they view as the highest priorities right now for policy and practice.

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The Graduate! Network: From Stop Out to A Degree

The Graduate! Network has issued a new report on the journey of a “Comebacker” student. The Network, a nationwide movement that targets adult learners and brings them back to college, brought together a panel of experts and three current and former students to discuss the obstacles faced by returning students and ways to create a more equitable education environment.

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Amazon, Walmart, Target are paying for college, but money isn’t everything in education

Amazon, Walmart, Target and McDonald’s are among the companies now offering various ways for their employees to obtain an education for free. It’s not a new idea in the world of employee benefits — employer-sponsored education has a history that goes back decades. But the education programs for low-wage workers are receiving more focus as the companies promote them in tight labor market, and that inevitably has led to skepticism about who benefits more: employer or employee?

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An Untapped Source of Skilled Workers: Adults with Some College but No Degree

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Opening and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey finds that job openings increased to a historical data series high of 10.1 million in June. With many employers searching for workers, reports of increased recruiting difficulty abound. And while media has given much attention to lower-wage job openings (e.g., service jobs in summer tourist areas), the same void is appearing in jobs requiring higher-education degrees. Meanwhile, some surveys suggest many employees are considering quitting their current job in what is becoming known as the Great Resignation.

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Study reveals local organization is helping to bring adults back to higher education

The ongoing pandemic is leading many people to start considering career changes with some even going back to school. About 45 million adults have left college before completing a degree, according to The Graduate! Network.

But a local nonprofit organization is gaining national recognition for helping people navigate their way back to the higher education classroom.

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‘Millions upon millions’ in employer-funded education benefits go unused

College had always been a goal for Charletta Thomas.

Thomas didn’t doubt she was smart enough. Her barriers were external — tuition and time. She’d married not long after graduating from high school in 1981, had three children soon after that, and then gone to work for McDonald’s to make ends meet after her marriage ended.

She had what it takes to rise. Thomas, now 58, started as a bookkeeper and now supervises training for a 44-restaurant chain in southern Louisiana. But after 27 years with a company with education benefits — benefits Thomas pitches to other employees — she still hadn’t taken advantage of them herself.

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