Communications Office: Stephen Mease
Phone: (802) 865-6432
BURLINGTON, Vt. - A new survey from Champlain College Online says that while most adults see the value in higher education to prepare them for advancement in the workplace, ongoing concerns over incurring student debt and affordability are the major barriers to returning to school to complete a certificate, associate degree or bachelor's degree.
"The Adult Viewpoints 2017: Online Learning and the Back-to-School Decision Survey", conducted by Full Circle Research-a national market research firm-reveals significant new findings on how U.S. adults ages 23 to 55 perceive the value of higher education, the barriers and motivators for them to return to school, and the quality of online learning.
Of those surveyed, 70 percent assigned an "A" or "B" to the overall success of higher education in preparing adult students for the workplace. Six out of ten respondents said they have personally considered returning to school to complete a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree. The two main barriers cited among all respondents to going back to school were concerns about being "burdened with student loan debt" (75 percent) and "inability to afford it" (70 percent).
"According to recent estimates from the American Council on Education, the number of post-traditional students has grown to 13.3 million, comprising 60 percent of all undergraduate students, yet they are still underserved by higher education," said Donald J. Laackman, president of Champlain College. "We commissioned this survey to respond to the needs of the adult learners that make up a significant portion of our workforce, and to hear their diverse voices."
Defining Quality Higher Education for Post-Traditional Students
Adult learners appear conflicted when it comes to the quality of higher education, specifically online education. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents believe the overall quality of online education to be "excellent" or "very good." Respondents perceive face-to-face learning as preferable to online learning in most respects, but recognize that access to a quality education online can be ensured through practices supported by research on teaching and learning effectiveness.
More specifically, regarding quality, the survey found:
The Hope Gap: Overcoming Accessibility Barriers to Gratifying Careers
"Champlain College Online's survey reveals that many adults would go back to school with the hope that higher education will unlock greater opportunities and gratifying careers for them, but barriers range from self-doubt to financial and physical realities," said Dr. Laurie Quinn, provost and senior vice president for academics at Champlain College. "More awareness and action can close this gap, so adults have access to the quality, affordable education they deserve."
The survey revealed that 59 percent of respondents would have a more positive feeling about themselves if they complete a degree. Most adults cite financial considerations as the main reason they cannot return to college, but money also serves as the prime motivator to return: a whopping 73 percent of respondents want to increase their earning potential. Additionally, the survey found:
Champlain College Online commissioned Full Circle Research to conduct this online survey from November 17-20, 2017 with a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults between the ages of 23 and 55. Full Circle Research is the first and only online sample provider to be ISO 26362-certified, a global designation of quality. All respondents were screened to include only those who have a high school degree or GED, some college but no degree, or an associate degree. Data was compiled and analyzed during the fourth quarter of the 2017 calendar year. The margin of error (for the entire sample of 1,004 respondents from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia) is +/- 3.1 percent with a confidence level of 95 percent, and smaller for subsets.
To download a copy of the full survey report, please visit www.champlain.edu/onlinesurvey.
About Champlain College Online
At the forefront of one of the most innovative, regionally accredited, not-for-profit colleges in the nation, Champlain College Online prides itself on its long history of providing career-focused education to adult learners. One of the oldest online institutions in the United States, Champlain College Online was established in 1993 by Champlain College, a non-profit private college founded in 1878 and offering a campus undergraduate experience in Burlington, Vermont. Today, Champlain College Online is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a leader in online higher education and serves nearly 3,400 students through more than 60 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates in high-growth fields like cybersecurity, healthcare administration and human resource management. Through the strategic alliance program known as truED, Champlain College Online has pioneered a bold reimagining of workforce development to create additional opportunities for adults to further their education in Champlain College's award-winning online academic programs aligned to needs in government and industry. For more information, visit www.Champlain.edu/online.
Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 382 Colleges: 2018 Edition. For the third year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2018 "America's Best Colleges," and an "A+ School for B Students" and is ranked in the top 100 Regional Universities of the North. Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2018 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2018 College of Distinction. For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.