"In just a single generation, America has fallen from second place to eleventh place in the portion of students completing college. That is unfortunate but it is by no means irreversible....I [call] on Americans to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training, with the goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the year 2020."
-President Barack Obama
Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs) - is one of the few national initiatives focused on assisting adults in identifying, enrolling, and paying for college.
These programs work! A recent assessment of EOC participants found that 57% of college-ready students were admitted to institutions of higher learning and 56% of EOC participants who had been college dropouts had re-enrolled.*
To meet the President's college completion goal, millions more adults must enter college. Even if every state reached the same levels of high school graduation and college enrollment for recent high school graduates as the highest performing states, we would not reach this goal without a renewed focus on enrolling and graduation students.
Unfortunately, the United States is regressing in its enrollment of adult college students. Data demonstrates that the rate of college entry among adults aged 25-49 has declined by 20% since 1990 (6.5% vs 8.1%). **
Moreover, most students who begin college at 25 or older never earn a degree or certificate. In fact, fewer than 20% of these students achieve such a credential.
* U.S. Department of Education, Federal TRiO Programs, A Profile of the Educational Opportunity Centers Program: 1999-2000, available at www.ed.gov/programs/trioeoc/eocprofile1999-00.pdf.
** Patrick J. Kelley, Addressing the Employment and Education Needs of Adults: A Dialogue (Jan. 19, 2010) (presentation at briefing of the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education).