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Rethinking the Traditional College Student

When prompted to picture a college student, many people defer to an image of a young, recent high-school graduate who is pursuing postsecondary education before launching their career. But College Now knows that this image does not encompass the experience of many students pursuing higher education.

Each year, millions of adults are enrolled in college and are often referred to as adult learners or “nontraditional” students; however, 41% of college students are over the age of 25! Supporting this “new traditional” college student has become such a priority that College Now offers an Adult Learner Scholarship, which is available for Pell-eligible adults 19 years and older who do not already have a college degree or postsecondary credential.

Getting more adults to complete a postsecondary program is important not only for the trajectory of the individual’s career, but for the benefit of our community’s well-being and economic growth, as well.

Currently, Ohio’s degree attainment rate sits at 38%, with a goal of reaching 60% by 2025. Many of the adults that College Now works with already have some postsecondary education but don’t necessarily have a degree or certificate to impress potential employers. According to Degrees When Due, a project of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Ohio has over 136,000 potential completers, meaning individuals who have some college education, but no degree.

By 2025, 65% of jobs in Ohio will require a postsecondary credential. Which is why, in addition to working with adult learners, College Now offers talent solution services to employers to ensure that their talent pipeline is prepared to meet the needs of the 2025 economy and beyond.  College Now also partners with local higher education institutions to recruit potential completers, also referred to as “comebackers,” to return to school to complete their degree.

Based on Ohio’s current attainment rate and goal for 2025, our community has a lot of work to do, but College Now is committed to narrowing the degree attainment gap in Ohio.

Though the process of re-enrolling in school or enrolling for the first time may seem daunting, College Now offers a variety of resources to ensure that adults receive the support they need to complete a degree. One adult scholarship recipient shared, “I knew that I was getting older and I couldn’t do the type of work that I was used to doing, so I needed to reorganize and reinvent myself and go back to school. College Now has helped me out tremendously as far as coordinating my time, getting my paperwork together, and telling me what I didn’t know.”

Between raising children, supporting aging parents, juggling work schedules, and managing other responsibilities, the college experience of adult learners is complex, and yet, increasingly more common. Located in downtown Cleveland, College Now’s Resource Center is equipped with specialists that work with adults to strategically manage their degree plans and overcome barriers to obtaining a degree.

College Now staff hold expertise in applying for federal financial aid, managing loans for students who may be in default, and finding scholarship opportunities. They are also trained to assist with choosing a degree program or educational institution that best fits the client, and to connect students with additional resources on their respective campuses.

Whether you’re returning to school to complete the last few credits for your degree, because you want to set an example for your children, or you’re looking to expand your career opportunities, College Now has resources to help you succeed –  schedule an appointment today!