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Author(s):Stokes, P
Title:Hidden in plain sight: Adult learners forge a new tradition in higher education
Organization:The Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education
Short Description:This paper examines how colleges and universities – supported by effective policy – can better align their educational offerings to meet the needs of adult learners and thereby play a critical role in increasing access to higher education and sustaining the health of our economy.
Annotation:Although “traditional” 18-22 year-old full-time undergraduate students residing on campus account for only 16% of higher education enrollments, the attention given to this group of students obscures the fact that the vast majority of college and university students are “non-traditional” – largely working adults struggling to balance jobs, families, and education. This paper examines how colleges and universities – supported by effective policy – can better align their educational offerings to meet the needs of adult learners and thereby play a critical role in increasing access to higher education and sustaining the health of our economy.
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Associated Keywords:
Adult Students
Affordability, Tuition and College Costs
College Access
Employment and Workforce Development
Financial Aid
Non-traditional Students
Social and Economic Benefits/Economic Development

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