AZ Snapshot: 25% of college students are 30 years and older

Posted on November 16, 2016 • Category: Education



25%

A new report from National Public Radio (NPR) estimates that college students 30 years and older now represent one quarter of all student enrollment in 2- and 4- year institutions.

VALUE OF A COLLEGE EDUCATION: Shaken by Economic Change, ‘Non-Traditional’ Students Are Becoming the New Normal

nprED, Sept. 25, 2016

WHY IT MATTERS

Job losses caused by the great recession and a changing economy are causing more adults to return to school for more education and training. They may have lost a job that’s not coming back or feel trapped in low-wage employment with little opportunity for advancement. While this is not a new trend, the rapid growth of online education is giving older students more access.

 

THE ARIZONA WE HAVE

 

College Enrollment by Age - All Public-Private Institutions

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Why Does Arizona Look Different?
We are one of only a handful of states that have seen enrollment in our three public universities increase significantly over the last few years. The state also offers one of the largest community college systems in the nation as well as a number of large online programs (e.g., University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, Argosy University Online and ASU Online).

When the state’s large online providers are eliminated from enrollment numbers, Arizona looks a lot more like the nation, but still ahead of the curve.

 

College Enrollment by Age - Without Large Online Providers

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A More Significant Change
The shift from full-time (FT) to part-time (PT) enrollment in the nation’s 2- and 4-year institutions is having an even greater impact. FT enrollment among 18 to 19-year old students has slowly declined since 1970. They now include only 25% of overall FT enrollment.

 

Full-Time vs. Part-Time College Enrollment by Age

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The Challenge for Higher Education

  • Education institutions are used to serving students in the 18-24 range. Older students may be juggling work and family with school and other responsibilities. Access to classes, counseling and financial services needs to be available at a variety of times, both on-campus and online.
  • The shift from FT to PT enrollment is significant and most likely due to changing demographic and economic factors, including the cost of higher education.

 

OTHER NEWS
15% Traditional students (18-24) represent 15% of current undergraduates who live on campus at 4-year colleges.
Post-traditional Learners and the Transformation of Postsecondary Education: A Manifesto for College Leaders  
Louis Soares, American Council on Education, March 15, 2016

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Lattie F. Coor

Chairman's Point of View

"When CFA set out to build a Citizens' Agenda for Arizona, we didn't know it would end up placing Arizona at the center of a national movement to resolve some of the challenges confronting democracy today–the growing lack of confidence that citizens have in government and their growing lack of participation in the civic life of our communities and nation.

In many ways Arizona is a microcosm of these challenges. This fact was made clear in the results of our Arizona Gallup Poll (2009), which identified the deep concerns that Arizonans have about the need for both effective leaders and engaged citizens.

As described by The Arizona We Want report, the people of our state are concerned about policy issues – jobs, education, healthcare, the state's transportation system, water and public resources – and much more. Arizonans also want more citizen engagement in the policy process, more active participation in the civic life of their local communities and more attention paid to nurturing and keeping the state's talented young people."

Learn More about how CFA is activating the Citizens' Agenda for Arizona.


Citizen goals sit at the heart of all we do.


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