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Persevering to Completion: Understanding the Experiences of Adults Who Successfully Returned to College

March 30, 2022

In recent years, both policymakers and practitioners working to increase postsecondary attainment rates in the United States have shifted their focus from college access to college success. At the same time, they have recognized that the prevalence of 36 million adults with some college education but no postsecondary credential is an important consequence of the many challenges facing American college students. Adults with some college but no credential face a range of barriers to both re-enrolling in college and completing a credential if they re-enroll. Those who have made several attempts to attend college may be burdened by student loans and other educational debt but cannot reap the social and economic benefits associated with earning a postsecondary credential. Given this reality, policymakers and postsecondary institutions must identify effective ways to support these individuals if and when they do try to return to college. Commissioned by the Lumina Foundation, this study offers a unique opportunity to better understand the experiences of adults who stopped out of college, re-enrolled, and either successfully completed a credential or seemed likely to do so. Based on a new survey of these successful returning students, the study investigates the challenges and supports they view as important to their ability to remain enrolled and attain a postsecondary credential, with the goal of identifying factors that facilitated their success. 

Creating Change One Step at a Time: Efforts to Improve College Access and Success in Indiana

September 17, 2008

Offers lessons learned and best practices from the state's successful efforts to raise access to and attainment of higher education through academic preparation, affordability, and a differentiated higher education system and by addressing student needs.

Corporate Investments in College Readiness and Access

June 30, 2008

Examines support for college readiness and access initiatives among Fortune 100 companies, best practices in helping disadvantaged students, and case studies. Discusses the importance of higher education to enhancing the U.S. workforce's competitiveness.

Higher Education in Michigan: Overcoming Challenges to Expand Access

March 1, 2008

Examines in detail the barriers to higher education in three underserved Michigan communities, and recommends options for improving access at the state level, coordination among institutions, healthcare training, public transportation, and affordability.

From Aspirations to Action: The Role of Middle School Parents in Making the Dream of College a Reality

December 1, 2007

Looks at the number of parents who have taken steps to prepare for their children's college education by the time their children are in middle school.

Opening the Door to the American Dream: Increasing Higher Education Access and Success for Immigrants

April 1, 2007

Describes the demographic and educational characteristics of the immigrant population in the United States, and discusses barriers faced by legal immigrants seeking to enroll in postsecondary education.