Next week, we will release a new report on the concerns and priorities of adults who do not currently have a college degree but intend to go or return to school to receive one. This is an important and growing group -- the population of adult students grew by 51 percent between 1991 and 2011. Many times, these prospective students are returning to school out of economic necessity. Without a credential, they are not as competitive in a very challenging job market.
Unfortunately, our research suggests these adults seeking degrees do not have the information they need to choose a college or program that will best prepare them to navigate their futures.
For instance, many statistics that higher ed experts consider critical - like the graduation rate of a school - don't mean all that much to these prospective students, even when those statistics directly relate to their top concerns. Over two-thirds of the adults we surveyed worry about taking on too much debt as they considering going to college. At the same time, during their college search, barely half believe it's essential to know how much debt a school's average student graduates with.
As a result, many of these adults may end up in a school or program that does not meet their academic, financial, professional or personal needs. Our forthcoming report on the research provides concrete ideas for leaders in education, policy and philanthropy to help adult prospective students make better decisions about college.
We'll have more on the report next Monday - keep an eye out on our homepage and blog for the report's release. If you'd like us to email you the report directly, let us know and we'll be happy to do so.