Graduate!CT Investigates: Top Reasons CT Residents Don’t Consider Finishing a Previously Started Degree

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A 2012 survey, Challenges Facing Connecticut Adults in Degree Completion, commissioned by Graduate!CT and conducted by The Pert Group, found family obligations, financial considerations and time commitment as the top three reasons why Connecticut residents don’t go back to college to complete their degrees.

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Our job at Graduate!CT is to help adults overcome hurdles by equipping them with a variety of tools and offering helpful, in-person advice from college counseling experts.

Graduate!CT, a program of the MetroHartford Alliance in collaboration with the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, is dedicated to increasing the number of adults with college degrees in Connecticut. A 2012 survey, Challenges Facing Connecticut Adults in Degree Completion, commissioned by Graduate!CT and conducted by The Pert Group, found family obligations, financial considerations and time commitment as the top three reasons why Connecticut residents don’t go back to college to complete their degrees. With 75% of CT high school students going to college after graduation and only 41% graduating within 6 years, there is a significant population in the state that never completes their degree.

Thirty-percent of respondents indicate family obligations as the primary reason they have not considered finishing their degree. Of those, women are 25% more likely to cite this concern. Almost 50% of respondents who identify family obligations as their top challenge earn less than $50,000 potentially making childcare challenging to afford when combined with college tuition.

Financial considerations are second most common reason. Two-thirds of these respondents are single with one income and 96% are over the age of 35 and most likely juggling payments on cars, homes, previous loans and perhaps the financial obligation of a child(ren). Loans (both private and government-funded), scholarships and grants can make college more affordable in addition to employer tuition assistance.

Time commitment is the third most prevalent reason that CT residents have not finished their degree. With 20% of respondents signaling this as their top concern and evenly distributed among men and women, it is evident that other obligations commonly take priority (and time). Ninety-five percent of respondents are, once again, over the age of 35 representing a time in life usually full of varying responsibilities. Despite these concerns, many colleges in and around the Greater Hartford area provide flexible learning environments and class times that can accommodate busy schedules. Prior learning experience in professional responsibilities, civic and volunteer experiences, military and corporate training, and independent study can provide additional course credit and help reduce the amount of class (and time) needed to earn that degree.

“These three reasons make up the majority (70%) of reasons why CT residents are not finishing their degrees,” Martin Estey, Director of Higher Ed Partnerships, Graduate!CT said. “Our job at Graduate!CT is to help adults overcome those particular hurdles by equipping them with a variety of tools and offering helpful, in-person advice from college counseling experts.”

Graduate!CT is ready to help those interested in obtaining an Associate, Bachelor or Master’s degree that have, at minimum, a High School diploma or G.E.D. with:

  •     Deciding a career path
  •     Finding a college/university
  •     Enrollment procedures and time tables
  •     Financial aid and scholarship opportunities

Return to college. Secure your future. We can help.

About Graduate!CT
The mission of the Graduate!CT program is to increase the number of adults with college degrees in Connecticut. Our knowledgeable advisors offer advice and counseling to facilitate the return to college process: from researching programs to graduation and all steps in between, the G!CT staff will be there to help with your degree completion. Graduate!CT is a nonprofit and there is no fee for service. To learn more, visit http://www.graduatect.org.

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Jessica Lyon
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