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Adult College Completion Network Concludes Operations

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) facilitated the work of the Adult College Completion Network (ACCN) with funding from Lumina Foundation from 2011 to 2016. The network concluded operations in 2016, after the project's grant funding came to a close.

WICHE deeply appreciates the contributions of the institutions, organizations, and agencies that participated in this collaborative learning network over the years. Together, we made significant progress in discovering, building, and scaling programs, policies, and initiatives that successfully served returning adult learners. This website contains a record of this work and visitors are welcome to explore the network’s resources.

SHEEO Adult Promise Pilot Program Design Convening

Today we welcome Sophia Laderman, a data analyst with the national association of State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), to share a recap of the group's recent convening to explore possible designs of a pilot program for a state-level adult-focused promise initiative.

Adult Promise Pilot Program – Design Convening
May 3-4, 2016
Boulder, Colorado

This meeting was made possible through a grant from Lumina Foundation

Over the last year, a number of states have begun to consider “Promise Programs” as a cost-effective strategy to encourage postsecondary enrollment and improve degree attainment. These programs offer free college tuition and fees for a specific subset of students in a state. In some states, these programs include a strong mentoring component, designed to help students navigate postsecondary education and succeed. The programs underway are geared towards recent high school graduates at a certain income threshold and below, in other words, “traditional students”. However, serving traditional students is not enough to meet state attainment goals and create the educated workforce critical for strong state economies.

Exploring, Engaging, and Expanding with the ACCN

To share lessons learned from the Adult College Completion Network’s 2015 Annual Workshop, the ACCN has released Exploring, Engaging, and Expanding with the Adult College Completion Network.

New Report from Ohio: Student Success for Adult Learners

Report Cover Student Success for Adult LearnersThe Ohio Department of Higher Education’s most recent report on the condition of higher education in their state focuses on success for adult learners. The report includes an eye-opening analysis of credential attainment for Ohio’s adult students in comparison to their traditional-aged counterparts, as well as an overview of current efforts to serve adult students and suggestions for more effectively serving this population moving forward.

WIA, WIOA & WIBs, Oh My: What do all these Ws mean, especially for higher ed?

WICHE’s Senior Research Analyst Peace Bransberger breaks down the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and what it could mean for higher education in a new policy brief. Peace joins us on the ACCN blog to describe the brief below, though we encourage you to read the brief in full for an excellent primer on a complex piece of legislation.

In July 2014, Congress enacted the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which replaced the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), reauthorizing the federal workforce system, the nation's primary source of funding and programming for unemployed and lower-skilled workers. This reauthorization was lauded for its bipartisan intent to make services provided through American Job Centers and adult education programming (among others) more attuned to local labor markets and demonstrably beneficial to customers in terms of streamlined services, improved access to relevant short-term training, credential attainment, and close monitoring of employment results. The impact these programs could have for lower-skilled adults continues to be constrained by limited funding. But WIOA's strategic and procedural improvements provide numerous opportunities for states' public workforce and postsecondary education systems—particularly community colleges—to work together and exploit training opportunities for working and low-income adults.

ACCN 2.0: Reflections from the ACCN Annual Workshop

Over 80 members of the Adult College Completion Network (ACCN) gathered in Denver on November 10 and 11, braving snow and sleet to come together and share their challenges and successes in serving adult learners. Attendees spent a packed day and a half swapping strategies, learning from subject matter experts, and discussing everything from digital badges to rehabilitating federal student loans.  

IPEDS Changes Will Improve Available Data on Non-traditional Students, yet a Comprehensive Picture Remains Elusive

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is the primary source for data on colleges, universities, and technical and vocational postsecondary institutions in the United States. The system is managed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and provides publically available data on all postsecondary institutions which participate in federal student financial aid programs. NCES collects data on a variety of topics—such as enrollments, institutional prices and graduation rates—from institutions through a system of interrelated surveys. While IPEDS contains a wealth of information and serves as an important resource, it has long had a serious drawback for those interested in returning adult students. Critical topics such as graduation and retention rates have been calculated using only “first-time, full-time” students, excluding those with prior college credit who return to complete a credential. However, NCES will implement a new Outcome Measures component including non-first-time and part-time students in their 2015-2016 Winter data collection.

New Report Finds Increased Interest in Adult College Completion; Cites Hurdles That Returning College Students Must Overcome

A new report from Higher Ed Insight finds that, while interest in adult college completion is at an all-time high, colleges and universities must change their policies and practices to better serve students who return to college as adults. Using data from a range of sources, the report explores the challenges adult students face when returning to college and identifies effective practices for supporting these students when they do return to school. The report also examines the role of local, state, and national partnerships that bring together higher education and workforce entities to engage this prospective student population, recognizing the importance of employment and career advancement to many returning adult students.

PLA 20/20 – Reflections from the National Institute on the Assessment of Adult Learning

This year’s National Institute on the Assessment of Adult Learning convened adult learning experts, practitioners, and enthusiasts in Philadelphia for a deep dive into Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). As a first time attendee, it was fascinating to learn about the many different ways institutions are leveraging PLA to attract, retain, and graduate adult students. Below are two key takeaways from my time surrounded by PLA experts (though it should be noted these were limited by my inability to attend all of the concurrent sessions).

Resource Roundup – New Reports

ACCN Blog A number of new reports with relevance for those working with returning adults have been released this spring. This week’s post provides an overview of two of these, a policy brief from the Education Commission of the States on state financial aid and a report on the results of a recent survey of adults’ perceptions of the costs and benefit s of postsecondary education from the American Enterprise Institute.

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