Adult bachelor degree completion schools: Creating a guide and ranking methodology

Lynne Christine O'Connell, Fordham University


The goal of this qualitative applied research study was to examine the ability of post-traditional students and researchers to access information regarding adult bachelor’s degree completion programs. The purpose of the study was to create a template for a comprehensive guide and a methodology for ranking schools, based on enrollment priorities of post-traditional students. A review of the literature indicated post-traditional students differed from traditional college students by possessing one or more of seven risk factors impacting bachelor degree persistence and attainment: older than typical age for year in school, worked full time, attended school part-time, was financially independent, had dependents, was a single parent, and did not earn a traditional high school diploma. Data collection took place using general Internet searches, higher education institution websites, and data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Four higher education institutions representing public and private schools in the New York Metropolitan region served as prototypes for the guide. Topics examined the post-traditional student history, learning styles, and barriers to bachelor’s degree attainment. Also examined were the history, methodologies, and limitations of ranking colleges and universities. Three important findings emerged. First, the post-traditional student was not clearly defined within higher education institutions or the NCES. Second, access to information was limited or not available. Third, neither higher education institutions nor the federal education agencies collected data specific to the post-traditional student. The study concluded with recommendations for future research as well as for academic communities and federal education agencies.

Subject Area

Adult education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

O'Connell, Lynne Christine, "Adult bachelor degree completion schools: Creating a guide and ranking methodology" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10154264.