Connecting learning to life is central to all that we do at Hobsons. It is the lens by which we focus our work and partnerships. We believe learning never stops, regardless of a student’s stage in life.

One of the ways we work to support students is through our partnership with UPCEA (University Professional & Continuing Education Association), the leading educational association focused on professional, continuing, and online education. Over the past two years, Hobsons and the UPCEA Center for Research and Consulting have been conducting research to determine the effect that post-secondary credentials have on the adult learner.

In year one of the study, we found that recent graduates (those who graduated over the past five years) gained greater job security and increased salaries as a result of earning their degrees or certificates.

Since then, additional institutions have joined this work to improve the benchmarks on adult learner progress. Year two of the study has now concluded, finding that college major and demographic characteristics made a difference in student motivation, career goals, and outcomes.

Jim Fong, Director for the UPCEA Center for Research and Consulting, and Amanda Mason-Singh, Research Analyst at Hobsons, discussed the results in a presentation at the UPCEA 100th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, on March 31, 2015.

Measuring Adult Student Gains and Satisfaction After Earning an Undergraduate Continuing Education Degree [Presentation Slides] from Hobsons

Top take-aways include:

  • After earning their degree, adult learners started to receive significant raises quickly, within four to six years after graduation.
  • STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) garnered less interest from older adults than younger adults who returned to college.
  • Adult students who earned their degrees in engineering, nursing, and business were more likely to receive a raise than students with other degrees. Nurses and engineers were also more likely to believe that they were in their career jobs after earning their degree.
  • Most adult learners were “very” or “extremely satisfied” after earning their degrees, but those earning degrees in nursing and engineering were more satisfied than those in other fields of study. 

The complete study results will be released in the coming weeks.


Visit the Resource Center