As open-access institutions, community colleges serve a diverse group of learners, many of whom enroll part-time as they juggle multiple responsibilities. This is particularly true for “adult students” aged 25–64.
Despite the average age of community college students being 28, college’s structures, processes, and cultures are often designed based on the learning and support needs of the traditional 18–21-year-old student. This can result in adult learners taking longer to complete their credential, stopping or dropping out, or not getting connected to their local college at all.
COVID-19 has brought additional challenges, with colleges experiencing steep enrollment declines among students aged 25+. To address this challenge, ATD and partners, with funding from Lumina Foundation, launched the Prioritizing Adult Community College Enrollment (PACCE) initiative with 20 community colleges in eight states.
- Austin Community College, TX*
- Broward College, FL*
- Cape Fear Community College, NC
- Colorado Mountain College, CO
- Finger Lakes Community College, NY
- Florida SouthWestern State College, FL
- Fulton-Montgomery Community College (SUNY), NY
- Ingram State Technical College, AL
- Kalamazoo Valley Community College, MI
- Mohawk Valley Community College, NY*
- Mt. San Antonio College, CA
- Northeast Lakeview College, TX (Alamo Colleges)*
- Northwest Vista College, TX (Alamo Colleges)*
- Onondaga Community College, NY*
- Palo Alto College, TX (Alamo Colleges)*
- San Antonio College, TX (Alamo Colleges)*
- South Texas College, TX*
- St. Phillip’s College, TX (Alamo Colleges)*
- Temple College, TX*
- Wallace Community College, AL
* Active ATD Network college
The PACCE initiative is designed to identify and scale promising strategies for increasing the enrollment and reenrollment of adult students — particularly Black and Latinx students — in high-quality credit and/or non-credit programs. To support this work, ATD and partner organizations provide technical assistance in behavioral design and sustainability of enrollment efforts.
Through this project, which runs from October 2021 through May 2023, ATD and partners aim to support the successful implementation of adult learner enrollment strategies at each participating college and then scale these strategies, lessons, and tools to the broader field.
Strategies Being Scaled
The 20 PACCE colleges collectively serve over 250,000 students, with individual institutions ranging in size from 1,000 to 35,000 students served annually. The colleges represent rural, suburban, and urban communities facing different local and regional employment environments. Learn more.
- Lumina Foundation
- rpk GROUP
- Equal Measure
- Rockefeller Philanthropy Partners