In 2019, NEBHE’s Board of Directors approved four strategic priorities including the following, dedicated to serving adult learners:

Enhance and expand postsecondary opportunities for adult learners through increased access, affordability, and targeted programs to promote successful completion

Because 60% of jobs will require a postsecondary credential by 2025, and over half of New Englanders aged 25 and older currently lack a postsecondary credential, engaging or re-engaging this population in postsecondary education is crucial to building a strong and sustainable workforce and economy.

Adult learners represent roughly one-quarter of the postsecondary population in New England (in 2019: 25.6%). They are usually defined as students aged 25 or older, but this group also includes individuals under 25 with responsibilities characteristic of adults. 

As of 2017 (most recent) data:

  • 64% of adult learners are employed – 40% work full-time
  • 49% are financially independent
  • 24% have non-spousal dependents
  • Many take a non-traditional educational trajectory – e.g., did not complete high school, delayed entrance into higher education, or “stopped out” of higher education
  • Many have prior job experience and 6% have served in the military

In 2019, NEBHE launched its first biennial Guide to Adult-Serving Colleges and Universities Survey.

The 2021 results are in!

We will be releasing results by category over the coming weeks. Explore the below results and stay tuned for more!


Prior Learning Assessment and Transfer Policies

Innovations Resulting from Covid-19


Non-Academic Support Overview

NEBHE’s strategy for increasing access to and completion of postsecondary credentials by New England’s adult learners includes four key elements: grant funded projects, NEBHE’s Guide to Adult Serving Institutions, data and research and additional tools and resources produced by exemplars across the nation.