Post-traditional Learners

About

​​​​​Post-traditional learners have been a growing presence in America’s postsecondary education institutions since the late 1970s and now make up close to 60 percent of enrolled undergraduates. Post-traditional learners are students who frequently must balance life, work, and their education. These students are typically ages 25 and older, care for dependents, and work full time while enrolled, and are often connected to the military. ACE’s research and insights on post-traditional learners focus on better understanding the experiences of this diverse population and offering recommendations on how colleges and universities can best serve these students

Reports and Publications
Preparing the Workforce in Today’s Community Colleges: Issues and Implications for Higher Education Leaders
Preparing the Workforce in Today’s Community Colleges: Issues and Implications for Higher Education Leaders
This brief, the second in a series of five, describes and discusses how higher education leaders, policymakers, and industry partners can advance opportunities to enhance the workforce development mission of community colleges.
A College Unbound: Lessons on Innovation from a Student-Driven College's Journey Through Regional Accreditation
A College Unbound: Lessons on Innovation from a Student-Driven College's Journey Through Regional Accreditation
This case study report profiles College Unbound, an independent nonprofit institution that uses a flexible, student-driven academic model to serve low-income working adult students returning to earn their first degree.
The Post-Traditional Learners Manifesto Revisited: Aligning Postsecondary Education with Real Life for Adult Student Success
The Post-Traditional Learners Manifesto Revisited: Aligning Postsecondary Education with Real Life for Adult Student Success
This report digs deeper into the needs of post-traditional college-goers and offers recommendations to help schools, researchers, and policymakers better help this growing population of students.
Post-traditional Learners and the Transformation of Postsecondary Education: A Manifesto for College Leaders
Post-traditional Learners and the Transformation of Postsecondary Education: A Manifesto for College Leaders
This paper includes a primer on innovation, a profile of post-traditional learners, a look at U.S. investment in postsecondary education and training, and concludes with three principles to “catalyze a manifesto for college leaders on how to proceed.”
Military-Connected Undergraduates: Exploring Differences Between National Guard, Reserve, Active Duty, and Veterans in Higher Education
Military-Connected Undergraduates: Exploring Differences Between National Guard, Reserve, Active Duty, and Veterans in Higher Education
This report disaggregates various military personnel from veterans to examine points of difference on demographic and economic characteristics, as well as on key factors associated with college enrollment, persistence, and completion.
Credit for Prior Learning: Charting Institutional Practice for Sustainability
Credit for Prior Learning: Charting Institutional Practice for Sustainability
​Learn the theory, strategy, and process to create pathways for studen​ts that take advantage of what the have already learned to increase persistence to degree and improve college affordability.
Student Veterans/Service Members’ Engagement in College and University Life and Education
Student Veterans/Service Members’ Engagement in College and University Life and Education
This report examines how student veterans and service members and their peers differ in their perception about and their engagement in academic activities and campus life.
Blog Posts