Degree completion is a huge challenge for “nontraditional” college students, concludes Pathways to Success a report to Congress and the U.S. Education Department by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. At community colleges, these older students are the norm, now dubbed “21st-century students.”
“Twenty-first century students,” a large and diverse group, aren’t served well by financial aid programs, the report found. National data banks track recent high school graduates, but ignore older students.
At a Sept. 30, 2011 meeting, two panels of experts discussed how federal policy can remove barriers to completion for adult students. In addition to reforming financial aid and tracking the progress of all students, they called for giving credit for prior learning and demonstrated competency, creating career pathways, integrating basic skills education with workforce training and assessing how much students are learning in college.