A recent survey by Champlain College found that, of U.S. adults age 23 to 55 without a bachelor's degree, 60% have considered going back to school, but 75% worry about student debt.
As more students with non-traditional characteristics step onto campus, Champlain is one of many colleges and universities working to ease the path for adult students. The college recently cut online undergraduate tuition in half to make it easier for adult learners to earn a degree.
In an article for Next Avenue, Laurie Quinn, Champlain's provost and senior vice president for academics, discusses what this growing demographic wants out of college.
3 things you need to know about the shifting adult learner market
1: To change careers. Many adults pursue a new career later in life. Some want to try a career in a new field, while others are forced to try something new after their jobs were automated or outsourced. Still others enter retirement only to find they still want to work.
2: To stay competitive. To keep up with technological advances, many experienced workers are looking for a way to update their skills.
3: To keep learning. Some adults return to school simply to tackle new challenges. The New York Times reported in 2016 that some lifelong learning programs have waitlists hundreds of names long.
4: To meet a lifelong goal. Many adult learners return to school to complete a degree after competing priorities—like family or military service—put their education plans on hold. Some degree completers simply want the sense of personal fulfillment, and others hope to inspire their children or grandchildren (Quinn, Next Avenue, 6/28).
Keep reading: What adult students want out of college
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