Eduventures Survey Finds Recession Has Led Adult Students to Place Increased Value on Higher Education -- However Economy Impacts Plans and Financing Ability

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Eduventures, Inc. yesterday released the results of the first major nationwide survey examining the effect of the recession on adult learners. Drawing upon responses from over 1,500 prospective adult students, the survey demonstrates that continuing and professional education remains countercyclical; despite the recession adult learners perceive additional education to be of increased personal value. However, prospective adult students also noted great concern about financing and persisting in their education and it is clear that colleges and universities will need to make changes in response to these concerns.

Eduventures, Inc., the leader in higher education research and consulting, yesterday released the results of the first major nationwide survey examining the effect of the recession on adult learners. Drawing upon responses from over 1,500 prospective adult students, the survey demonstrates that continuing and professional education remains countercyclical; despite the recession adult learners perceive additional education to be of increased personal value. Key findings from the study include:

  • Almost 50% of respondents stated that they feel additional education is actually worth more today (i.e. will improve their employment prospects) due to the recession. Less than 20% state that the value of additional education has declined due to the current economic turbulence.
  • Almost two-thirds (61%) say the current economic environment will either have no impact on their plans for pursuing additional education or may even accelerate their plans. Only 36% say that they are slowing down or delaying enrollment plans.

However, prospective adult students also noted great concern about financing and persisting in their education and it is clear that colleges and universities will need to make changes in response to these concerns. The survey demonstrates that the recession is impacting the behavior of prospective adult students in three broad areas - enrollment timing and courseload, financing, and format and attribute preferences. Key findings from the study that demonstrate this impact include:

  • 39% of respondents stated that they are more likely to take longer making an enrollment decision due to the recession and 38% stated they were more likely to take fewer courses then they had planned.
  • 59% of respondents stated they were more likely to enroll in a less expensive course or school due to the current state of the economy and their personal financial situation.
  • 43% lack confidence in their employer's ability to continue to provide financial assistance for additional education.
  • 42% said they are more likely to enroll in an online course or program in response to the current economic climate.

"The study demonstrates that the perceived value of additional education has increased in the current economic environment which is good news for continuing and professional education providers" said Sean Gallagher, Program Director and Senior Analyst at Eduventures. "However, against a backdrop of great economic uncertainty, many adult learners are demonstrating new educational preferences, and universities must adapt their strategies and offerings to meet these new demands."

About Eduventures, Inc.
Eduventures has been committed to improving higher education since its founding in 1993. Today, we partner with more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide. Our research membership programs and consulting services help higher education leaders achieve organizational goals and solve pressing challenges with evidence-based insights and guidance. Visit http://www.eduventures.com for more information.

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Craig Urch
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