In July of 2014, the National Student Clearinghouse reported 31 million adult in the United States were currently stuck in the limbo of having completed years of college but not enough to earn their degree. This study sourced people who have enrolled in college sometime in the past twenty years. In this study, they found that at least 4 million of these adults have completed at least two years worth of progress towards a degree or certificate. Less than one third of this demographic only enrolled for one term. 60.4% of everyone in this demographic is over the age of 24. When we look at what this means, we find a demographic emerging into adulthood with no degree and likely facing at least some amount of student debt.

This is a tricky demographic to pin down. The people are incredibly diverse and actually share more in common than college graduates than with each other. The major difference between people who completed their degrees and those who didn’t is that those who didn’t left school or took breaks more frequently.

What we can learn from this is that once life gets in the way of your degree, it becomes less and less likely you will be able to complete it. Whether it’s taking a break for health reasons, to care take for your children or a parent, or because your money for school ran out, every break you take from school means you’re less likely to finally earn your degree.

Lawmakers are taking strides to help these adults get out of educational limbo. In July of 2014, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would authorize college credit from skills learned from working jobs to help these adults complete their degrees. While the House isn’t all of Congress, this shows an unusual amount of bipartisan support for anything. Many schools also offer programs with more flexibility and some are even starting to accept work experience – particularly military work experience – as college credit.

What does it all mean?

The people of the United States understand that college isn’t the only place to get valuable education. It is widely accepted that work experience is validly educational and an accurate indicator of someone’s skill level and ability to be a valuable employee.

You don’t have to wait for Congress to get your work experience converted into college credit hours. The value of your education inside and outside of the classroom is recognized by the world you live in. You deserve your degree without spending any more time and money. At the Career People, you can take the years of college you have already accomplished as well as the years you have already spend learning skills hands-on in the workforce and get the degree you deserve without ever having to enroll in college again.


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