Serving Underserved Student Populations

The twin challenges of increasing demand for postsecondary graduates and declining numbers of the traditional postsecondary student population (first-time, full-time, residential students) are putting more and more pressure on higher education institutions to tap into new marketplaces. The more difficult part of the equation is determining which groups institutions should be focusing on, and understanding what changes institutions need to make to better-serve these students.


The Long-Term Unemployed

Alternative Credentials Can Motivate Graduate Education to Clarify Outcomes and Quality

Though level of education is typically not a barrier for long-term unemployed individuals to re-enter the workforce, higher education institutions can support this segment by certifying their skills and competencies.

AUDIO | PLA and Competency Key to Getting People Back to Work

and Donna Younger | Associate Vice President for Higher Education, CAEL

Higher education institutions must focus services and assessments around the distinct needs of non-traditional students to ensure their long-term unemployed learners gain the confidence necessary to persist through a degree program.


Rural Students

Overcoming Four Key Challenges to Rural Student Postsecondary Success

Rural students may face a number of roadblocks when it comes to accessing and succeeding in higher education, but colleges and universities can make small adjustments that would help them overcome these challenges.

AUDIO | The Keys to Recruiting and Retaining Rural Learners

Universities should explore partnerships with rural-based colleges to maximize accessibility for rural students.


Older Career Changers

Six Steps to Helping Career Changers Re-Enter the Workforce

Colleges and universities have a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on the growing and largely untapped marketplace of older adults pursuing career changes.

Three Keys to Keeping Your Boomers in Class with the Grades to Pass

By going the extra mile, higher education institutions can make a huge difference in the lives of older adults looking to complete a credential.

Making Changes to Better Serve Plus-50 Students Seeking Workforce Training

Higher education institutions can take massive strides toward creating accessibility for older career changers by making some small changes.


Single Parents

Toward a Two-Generation Approach: Innovative Strategies to Improve Education and Training for Parents

and Manuela Ekowo | Research Assistant, CLASP

By creating clear career pathways and introducing more comprehensive postsecondary financial support systems, low-income parents can get the support they need to move into stable careers and set their children on the pathway to success.

Against the Grain: Evolving the Institution to Attract and Retain Single Parents

It’s critical for higher education institutions to adapt their operations to better serve the growing population of parents looking to earn a degree.


Disadvantaged Groups

AUDIO | Look in the Mirror to Improve Higher Ed for First-Generation Students

In order for higher education institutions to be truly welcoming to first-generation students, they must look internally to find the accessibility and retention gaps that impede success of these learners.

AUDIO | Adapting to Serve Inner-City Students

Low-income inner city students often find themselves underserved by the majority of higher education institutions, but some very simple changes can make a very significant difference for this population.

Over the course of this Mini Feature, we published articles and interviews from contributors across the higher education world sharing their insights on serving these five underserved populations:

  1. Long-term unemployed individuals
  2. Rural students
  3. Older career changers
  4. Single parents
  5. Disadvantaged groups

Read, comment and learn about how higher education can serve underserved student populations!