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Ohio's Adult Learner Initiative
Ohio is committed to providing affordable and equitable educational opportunities to adult students; Finish for your Future establishes the goal to increase the proportion of adults over age 25 enrolled in public higher education from the current 27 percent to at least 40 percent by 2025.
Ohio has established an attainment goal that 65 percent of Ohioans, ages 25-64, will have a degree, certificate, or other postsecondary workforce credential of value in the workplace by 2025; at present, Ohio is at 44.1%. If we are to reach this goal and develop the talent needed by employers, the number of Ohioans earning postsecondary credentials must dramatically increase. Demographic projections estimate that Ohio will face a decline in the number of high school graduates in coming years. Yet Ohio has 3.7 million adults between the ages of 25 and 64 who do not have a postsecondary credential. Of the nearly 470,000 students enrolled in Ohio’s public postsecondary institutions in 2017, close to 27% are adults over age 25. Since the Great Recession, the proportion of adult students enrolling in postsecondary education and training has been in decline; in the five-year period between AY2011 and 2016, adult enrollment has declined by nearly one-third. The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) is concerned by this enrollment trend among adult learners and is committed to establishing a goal where adults over age 25 will comprise at least 40% of public higher education enrollments and completions by 2025. Additionally, Ohio will strive to close the equity gaps between underrepresented minorities and adults in enrollment and completion. With support from Lumina Foundation and ODHE, Finish for Your Future provides an opportunity to build upon established initiatives and create a strategic framework to advance improvement of adult learner outcomes.