Adult learners are more likely to enroll in universities that emphasize career preparation

The University of Phoenix commissioned a study from The Harris Poll focusing on the perspectives and needs of adult learners

PHÉNIX, October 08, 2021– (BUSINESS WIRE) – The University of Phoenix releases the results of a study designed to better understand the needs of adult learners and their perception of higher education. The University of Phoenix commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct an online survey in January 2021 of 3,006 current and potential American adult learners to better understand their aspirations and practical needs in higher education related to valuing degree, career preparation and the role of technology.

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Adult learners: who they are and what they want from college (Graphic: Business Wire)

Last year saw the Great Resignation, a term originated by organizational psychologist Anthony Klotz, where workers chose to change, abandon or migrate their careers into a new world of virtual and hybrid work models created as a result. of the pandemic. While adult learners now consider improvement and career opportunities, they also have ever-changing demands on educational institutions.

The majority of adult learners wish to focus more on the career preparation of higher education institutions to better align education with real-world experiences, especially through hands-on learning. More than 3 in 4 current and potential adult learners agree that there is a gap between what you learn in college and what you need for a career in the real world. Importantly, 84% of potential adult learners say they are more likely to enroll in a higher education institution that places more emphasis on career preparation (e.g., practical skills) than on the academic program (eg, methods, research, theories).

“The University of Phoenix takes great pride in its approach to career preparation. Our program is designed to be career relevant, with input from advisory boards comprised of industry leaders, and every faculty member is a practitioner in the field they teach, ”said John Woods, Ph.D., Dean of the University of Phoenix. “Our teaching is designed with adult learners in mind.”

According to the survey, 92% of adult learners believe that obtaining a graduate degree will help them achieve the “American dream”. Many adult learners report that their view of the American Dream is rooted in financial stability, security, or success, all achieved through a job or career. The main factors in the decision to attend a higher education institution are the acquisition of new skills (67% of potential learners; 62% of current learners) and the fact that the degree is necessary for advancement and career opportunities (54% for potential and current learners).

Adult learners want to see the professional and financial impacts of a degree. To determine the value of a degree, most current adult learners say it would be helpful to see a map of jobs showing the different career paths they could pursue with their degree (92%), the amount of money they could potentially earn in their field after graduation (91%) and earnings results after graduation for current students (91%). Importantly, around 3 in 10 say that higher education institutions currently provide too little information on each of these aspects.

“Understanding the way forward before making a financial investment is essential for adult learners. They are already juggling jobs, families and the other demands of life, and they need to know the value of their commitment, ”said Dr. Woods. “Our Enrollment Advisors and Career Advisors work with students to identify the value and opportunities presented by our programs of study and courses, and how these fit into their own aspirations for change or improvement. career.”

Adult learners agree that higher education institutions need to rely more on technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to best prepare their students for the workforce of tomorrow (75%, current learners; 68 %, potential learners). While all support systems are important when taking online courses, academic support from professors and professors (77%) and IT support with technical difficulties (75%) are considered very important or absolutely important. essential for three-quarters of current adult learners who have studied online.

The University of Phoenix focuses on career preparation and innovative technologies for its adult learners, two-thirds of whom are currently employed. The University’s Career Services for Life® commitment means that every degree is backed by lifelong career support. Students have access to career services and resources, from first class to graduation, and as a graduate, for a lifetime.

The University of Phoenix offers degree and professional development opportunities that incorporate career preparation through industry-informed advisory boards, competency-mapped study programs, alignment with Bureau of Labor Statistic, and has a practicing faculty with an average of 26 years of industry experience. During the pandemic, the University was able to quickly pivot to bring all current students online, prioritize accessibility, and avoid significant disruption to the continuous learning experience.

For a more detailed overview of the survey results, please contact [email protected]

Investigation Methodology

This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of the University of Phoenix between January 11 and February 1, 2021 among 1,505 current adult learners and 1,501 potential adult learners. Current adult learners are defined as residents of the United States aged 25 to 48 who are currently enrolled in a 2-year, 4-year, or graduate degree program. Potential adult learners are residents of the United States between the ages of 25 and 48 who plan to enroll in a 2-year, 4-year, or graduate degree program within the next 2 years.

The figures were weighted as necessary by age by sex, race / ethnicity, region, income, education, household size and marital status to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust respondents’ propensity to be online.

About the University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix continually innovates to help working adults improve their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible hours, relevant classes, interactive learning and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue their professional and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information visit

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Sharla hooper
Phoenix University
[email protected]

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