Public Agenda, with support from The Kresge Foundation, sought to understand how adult prospective students go about selecting a college. For the purpose of this study, we define this group as 18- to 55-year-old non-degree-holding Americans who are not currently enrolled in any postsecondary education or a secondary education program) but who say they plan to enroll in a certificate or degree program in the next two years. We call this group “adult prospective students” to highlight that these Americans are making decisions about college as workers, parents or temporarily unemployed adults—in other words, their circumstances are markedly different from those of high school students who are planning to enter higher education right after graduation. 

Findings and recommendations are based on survey data from a nationally representative sample of 803 adult prospective students that were collected via phone and online interviews throughout the spring of 2013. In addition, we spoke in depth with a total of eight groups of both younger (18–24) and older (25–55) adult prospective students across the country to better understand their motivations, expectations, strategies and concerns as they consider their postsecondary options. 

Download the complete methodology and sample characteristics: https://publicagenda.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Is-College-Worth-It-for-Me-Methodology-2013.pdf

Download the survey’s topline with full question wordings: https://publicagenda.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Is-College-Worth-It-for-Me-Topline-2013.pdf 

For more information, email research@publicagenda.org.