The Economic Imperative for More Adults to Complete College

Posted on June 27, 2011

Issue brief highlights economic need for adult college grads

Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore: The Economic Imperative for More Adults to Complete College, a brief by CLASP and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, finds that  just as the economy is demanding more workers that have some postsecondary education or training, our traditional source of such workers – high school graduates – is leveling off.

Some states, including Pennsylvania, will even see the number of high school graduates decline by as much as 18 to 20 percent. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of jobs in 2018 will require some postsecondary. The report includes state-by-state projections of number of high school graduates through 2020, as well as policy implications of a changing college population and the need for more adults to access postsecondary education.

Already, nontraditional students are a significant percent of the college population. Today’s students are older, more diverse, and have more work and family obligations than what most people – and policymakers – think of when they envision the typical college student.

The CLASP fact sheet Yesterday’s Nontraditional Student is Today’s Traditional Student found that in 2008 and 2009, more than one-third (36 percent) of all undergraduates were adults age 25 or older, 40 percent were low-income, 32 percent worked full-time, and 23 percent were parents.

Graduate! Philadelphia is the regional effort to encourage more adults to go to or return to college to get their degrees.  For more information, go here.

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