Increasing Adult Learner Persistence and Completion Rates: A Guide for Student Affairs Leaders and Practitioners

Marguerite McGann Culp and Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy, Editors

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Increasing Adult Learner Persistence and Completion Rates is an interactive tutorial designed to strengthen the ability of student affairs professionals to develop, implement, and assess the effectiveness of processes, programs, and services for undergraduate students between the ages of 25 and 64. The tutorial includes 10 modules that explore options for supporting adult undergraduates at both 2-year and 4-year institutions of all types.

More than a third of all undergraduate students are 25 or older, and their presence on college and university campuses is growing. However, institutions of higher learning are struggling to meet the needs of, and improve persistence and completion rates for, this significant student population.

Increasing Adult Learner Persistence and Completion Rates: A Guide for Student Affairs Leaders and Practitioners is an interactive tutorial designed to strengthen the ability of student affairs professionals to develop, implement, and assess the effectiveness of processes, programs, and services for undergraduate students between the ages of 25 and 64. The tutorial includes 10 modules that explore options for supporting adult undergraduates at both 2-year and 4-year institutions of all types.

Written as a companion publication to Building a Culture of Evidence in Student Affairs: A Guide for Leaders and Practitioners (NASPA, 2012), this tutorial offers practical strategies and advice from higher education leaders who have successfully implemented programs and services for undergraduate adult learners. Throughout the tutorial, readers will find:

  • Examples of innovative approaches to increase access and success for adult learners, with a module dedicated specifically to facilitating the success of student veterans
  • An overview of theory and research related to undergraduate adult learners, with an emphasis on how colleges and universities can build on theory and research to create effective programs and services
  • Instruments for assessing knowledge and skill sets in a variety of areas as well as the readiness of institutions to effectively serve adult learners
  •  Information for creating programs and services tailored to the needs of student parents, along with examples of innovative student parent initiatives
  • Discussion of the role that technology-enabled support services plays in increasing retention, persistence, and completion rates for adult learners
  • Guidelines for developing effective partnerships between student affairs and academic affairs in order to create seamless learning environments
  • Strategies for identifying, cultivating, and supporting relationships with external entities, such as employers and other organizations
  • Recommendations for cultivating and using data to improve adult-learner-focused initiatives and demonstrating the effectiveness of processes, programs, and services
  • A case study of the DegreeNow initiative to improve adult learner enrollment and completion rates at institutions across West Virginia

With national attention focused on increasing postsecondary degree attainment, colleges and universities must improve their support for undergraduate adult learners. The guidance offered in Increasing Adult Learner Persistence and Completion Rates will help student affairs leaders of all levels and at all higher education institutions create data-driven, outcomes-oriented support services for adult learners.

Paperback  | September 1, 2014 | 240 pages

978-0-931654-97-8

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