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Engaging Adult Students

A significant percentage of currently enrolled students at our community and technical colleges are outside of the age range for “traditional” college students. Similarly, most former college students in Washington state (with some college credit but no credential) and a large percentage of prospective college students with no college credit, are also non-traditional. When adults lack accessible and affordable options to complete postsecondary education, they also lack access to living-wage jobs.

The Washington Student Achievement Council’s 2019-2021 Strategic Action Plan set an ambitious goal of 70 percent of Washington adults ages 25-44 holding a postsecondary credential by the year 2023. If higher education institutions — including all of our community and technical colleges — are going to collectively accomplish this goal, there must be a significant increase in adult student enrollment and completion of certificates and degrees at our colleges.

Objectives and Strategies

The Adult Reengagement Work Group identified two objectives on which to focus its work, each with an emphasis on eliminating the achievement gap:

  1. Increase enrollment and adult reengagement for students who have not enrolled in college (including students in basic education who have not reached college-level in their coursework), with an emphasis on closing the equity gap.
  2. Increase enrollment and adult reengagement for students who have some college credits but no credential, with an emphasis on closing the equity gap.

The work group developed four strategies to achieve these objectives:

Strategy A

Identify, disseminate, and implement effective equity-minded adult re-engagement programs that identify, eliminate, and reduce barriers and create opportunities including consideration of strategies for workplace learning, basic education for adults, distance education and other delivery modes.

Strategy B

Identify, disseminate, and implement effective equity-minded guided pathways onramps for underserved populations that help students earn a high school diploma and/or transition to college-level coursework.

Strategy C

Identify, disseminate, and implement effective equity-minded marketing and outreach practices to reach underserved populations, and disseminate them system-wide.

Strategy D

Develop tools and provide support for community-based, equity-minded awareness campaigns in each community college district to reach community members who “stopped out” during high school or after high school completion to address the value of a postsecondary credential.

Expand All

Identify, disseminate, and implement effective equity-minded adult re-engagement programs that identify, eliminate, and reduce barriers and create opportunities including consideration of strategies for workplace learning, basic education for adults, distance education and other delivery modes.

  • All colleges should participate as fully as possible in the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) Adult Reengagement Framework implementation this year and beyond.

Identify, disseminate, and implement effective equity-minded guided pathways onramps for underserved populations that help students earn a high school diploma and/or transition to college-level coursework.

  • Basic Education for Adults (BEdA) programs should be integrated into all meta-majors as the foundation of each meta-major
  • Track the number and percent of individuals accessing the Ability to Benefit option for Pell Grants
  • Track the number and percent of BEdA students accessing the dual enrollment option through High School 21+ and I-BEST or other college-level career pathways.

Identify, disseminate, and implement effective equity-minded marketing and outreach practices to reach underserved populations, and disseminate them system-wide.

  • Identify promising and effective marketing and outreach efforts using the Public Information Commission (PIC) as an idea-sharing and troubleshooting venue.

Develop tools and provide support for community-based, equity-minded awareness campaigns in each community college district to reach community members who “stopped out” during high school or after high school completion to address the value of a postsecondary credential.

  • Involve the Public Information Commission (PIC) — along with the State Board and WACTC commissions and councils — in developing a toolset to support college district/community-level adult reengagement efforts.

Metrics

Number of adult students starting college with either no prior college or pre-college courses only

 Number of Adult Students Starting College with Either No Prior College or Pre-College Courses Only: 2015-16=97,721 total students, 22,778 historically underserved students of color; 2016-17=97,107 total students, 22, 436 historically underserved students of color; 2017-18= 96,222 total students, 21,886 historically underserved students of color; 2018-19=94,285 total students, 21,163 historically underserved students of color; 2019-20=80,755 total students, 19,706 historically underserved students of color.

The Number of Adult Students Starting College with Either No Prior College or Pre-College Courses Only diagram shows the number of award-seeking adults with either no prior college or only adult basic education enrolled in community and technical colleges over the last five years. Total students has fallen from 97,721 in academic year 2015-16 to 80,755 in 2018-19. The number of these students from historically underserved students of color populations has fallen from 22,778 to 19,706.

Number of adult students starting college with some prior college credits

Number of Adult Students Starting College with Some Prior College Credits: 2015-16=89,850 total students, 20,347 historically underserved students of color; 2016-17=85,801 total students, 20,017 historically underserved students of color; 2017-18=82,967 total students, 19,655 historically underserved students of color; 2018-19=80,520 total students, 19,618 historically underserved students of color; 2019-20=75,335 total students, 19,460 historically underserved students of color.

The Number of Adult Students Starting College with Some Prior College Credits diagram shows the number of award-seeking students completing fifteen college-level credits in their first year over the last five years. The number of total students has fallen from 89,850 in academic year 2015-16 to 75,335 In 2019-20. The number of these students from historically underserved students of color populations re-enrolling has fallen from 20,347 to 19,460.

Page Manager: shagreen@sbctc.edu
Last Modified: 8/9/23, 8:13 PM

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