Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kortegast, Carrie A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


Christina J. Coclanis-LodingDepartment of Higher Education and Student Affairs Northern Illinois University, 2021 Carrie A. Kortegast, Director

There are 44 million adults over the age of 24 who hold a high school diploma, and another 35 million adult who have some college credit, but have not earned their college degree. These numbers make adult learners a viable population to attract and matriculate at community colleges. Considering the impact adult learners would have on enrollment in a time when enrollment numbers have been declining and the benefits to the local economies by providing skilled workers, the recruitment of adult learners is essential. This study addresses the gap in the current literature to recruit adult learners. Interviews with directors of admission/adult admission advisors at six community colleges in Illinois led to the following four themes: efforts to enrolling adult learner are more difficult than they appear, current practices attempt to insert adult learners into a system built around the traditional student, childcare is a huge obstacle for this population and leadership pressure on enrollment numbers often changes prioritization.

Keywords: adult learners, nontraditional students, non-traditional students


74 pages




Northern Illinois University

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