Adult Re-Entry Pipeline

State Policies and Data to Promote Student Success in the

"Adult Re-Entry Pipeline"

A Project Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) received support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2009 to study state policies that foster “adult re-entry pipeline” student progression and success.   The adult re-entry pipeline consists of alternative pathways available for adults aged 22 and older to obtain postsecondary credentials.   This population is comprised of three groups: those who never completed their high school degrees, those who began postsecondary study but did not finish, and those who graduated from high school but never enrolled in postsecondary study.  

While much is known about policies – both state and federal – for traditional pathways to and through postsecondary education, there is little systematic knowledge about state policies to support adults as they pursue higher education.   The purpose of the NCHEMS study of state policies regarding the adult re-entry pipeline was to collect and document these often fragmentary and lesser known efforts.

As part of this project, NCHEMS produced a number of resource papers and tools to help state policymakers increase adult student success in entering postsecondary education and completing degrees.  They include:

Together, these resources comprise a “toolkit” whose components can be used individually or in combination to diagnose problems and devise policy solutions.