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Group advises Ohio colleges to focus on those who already started courses
Young adults whose education was disrupted by life may be the best recruits to finish degrees

Colleges who want to boost graduation would do well to focus on young adults who already started courses.
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Over the past two decades, more than 31 million Americans started college but never got a diploma. That's from a recent report by the National Student Clearinghouse. Not earning that degree can be a costly decision. Such people decrease their potential median earnings by about 16-thousand dollars a year. StateImpact Ohio's Amy Hansen tells us what one expert says could help remedy that number.

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The group’s executive research director, Doug Shapiro, says there’s a growing national push to get more students to finish college. But he says that won’t happen by strictly focusing on students right out of high school.

Instead, Shapiro says the report’s data points to a group universities should focus on: the nearly 4 million adults who have completed roughly two years of college coursework, but have put their education on hold for a handful of reasons.

“They had to take a job to save up more money for tuition, perhaps they’re dropping out for employment or family reasons or for military service, all sorts of reasons that students will drop out, and then come back on our own, sometimes two or three times.”

The report refers to that group as “potential completers.”  Most are under the age of 30 and have been out of college for up to six years.

Shapiro says universities can better connect with those students by streamlining credit transfers or offering flexible classes combining both in-person and online learning geared towards working adults.

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