ABOUT 9.6 MILLION adult learners in the U.S.
will go back to school in 2020. What are their
motivations and barriers, and how can institutions
of higher learning attract them? These
are questions addressed by Lane Terralever, a
higher education marketing agency, in a recent
study of 450 nontraditional learners, whose
ages range from mid-20s to near retirement.
Published in November 2019, “Marketing Higher Education to Today’s Non-Traditional Students” identifies four types of adult learners: those who
are affiliated with the military, those who want to
climb the job ladder, those who want to switch
careers, and those who didn’t earn degrees directly
after high school. Many of these learners:
- Face cost and time barriers.
- Are optimistic they will return to school.
- Look for messaging that speaks to their stages in life.
- Are a source of untapped potential.
- Are largely not seeking bachelor’s degrees.
- Do not need a “hard sell” to convince them to pursue educational options. .
According to the report, “Institutions that
speak to a prospective student’s unique barriers
will likely reap the benefits of increased
enrollment and help pave the way for the
changing education landscape.”