Older college students face completion crisis
- Forbes reports on a growing trend among college students who begin school after the age of 24 and make up more than 24% of the enrollment population, but who drop out of school at nearly double the rate of younger students.
- According to National Student Clearinghouse Research data, students aged 30 and up are four times more likely to pursue a credential or an associate degree from higher education than students younger than 30 years old, but even in these categories, older students still finish at a lower rate.
- Some observers suggest that older students with family, jobs and homes are limited in college options, and thereby quicker to drop out of a program which proves to be too difficult or a mismatch with their personalities or professional goals.
Many students, young and older, are looking for learning options which can help them to make more money, but are often unprepared for the rigor and workload required to complete credentialing or degree programs. Schools should consider moving beyond building online learning modules, or expanding traditional and new age programs, and how to best construct them around the needs and capacity of students.
While many traditionalists would push back on the notion of making college easier, systems like gamification and online platforms like MOOCs can foster more positive engagment with students and professors, and potentially yield greater returns for schools and students alike.