For many adults, the decision to go back to school can be difficult. Most adults do not fit the profile of a "typical" college student—they have many competing priorities, from full-time work to family commitments, and often feel that the traditional college experience doesn't meet their needs. Online learning is a natural fit for many adults going back to college, as it offers flexibility and access that many campus-based programs don't have, but this style of learning faces significant perception challenges in the eyes of many adults.
That's why we recently commissioned a survey of 1,000+ adults across the United States: we wanted to better understand their thoughts on online learning and higher education as a whole, and find out what they see as the biggest reasons to go back to college (and the biggest obstacles in their way). The surveyed revealed quite a bit about adults: overall, while they see the value of higher education, they face significant challenges in actually pursuing a degree.
Here's what we found:
Higher Education is Key to Career Prospects
70% of adults believe it's "very important" or "somewhat important" to hold a bachelor's degree to secure a job in the future.
Cost is the Primary Hurdle in the Decision to Go Back to School
75% of respondents said student loan debt was the main barrier to going back to school.
Increasing Earning Potential Is the Main Reason to Return
73% of respondents said the main reason they want to go back to school is to increase earning potential.
Online Learning Is Seen as High-Quality Overall, and as a Better Option for Adult Learners
76% of those who have considered going back to school see online learning as "excellent" or "very good." More respondents judge online learning (38%) to be better in meeting the needs of adult students than face-to-face learning (26%).
Overall, this shows that while many adults want to go back to school—and have a clear sense of the benefits that can come from doing so—the obstacles in their way are significant.
To learn more about the findings in this report, visit champlain.edu/onlinesurvey.