How to Get Adults Back in College (and Why They Stopped)
When a student starts college, there are countless things that can throw them off the path to graduation. From financial hardship, to struggling with a particular subject, to mental and physical health crises, to a lack of support through the process, the hurdles that college students encounter are plentiful. It can seem as if hitting even one stumbling block on the road can veer the best students off course.
According to a recent article written by Wendy Sedlak for the Lumina Foundation, 36 million students have started a post-secondary education experience, but dropped out. Too often, the barriers that knocked them down in the first place continue to keep them out, blocking a road back to their degree.
The Strada Education Network compiled a report with over 40,000 students who stopped attending college to find out what would need to happen to get them back into the classroom. Three major responses emerged. Making college more affordable is one, reducing financial barriers and forgiving accrued debt that prevents students from re-enrolling.
Careers were another hot topic, with respondents saying they would need both flexibility from their current jobs as well as a guarantee that, after completion, their degree would help them get a raise or secure a better job. This is in contrast to the 20% who said they stopped college in the first place because they didn’t believe it would assist them in the working world.
The third largest category is students who say they would need more support. Academic support from advisors and personnel to help explain the college-going process to students has been shown to reduce dropping out and could help ease the transition back into collegiate life for returning students. Respondents also mentioned support from jobs via career-college partnerships and courses offered through their employers.
These are barriers that can be overcome for students if communities work together to get students back into learning spaces again, and it will be for the benefit of our society as a whole.
Read the full article here.