Adult Ed 101

Money and time, the two big obstacles to higher education for adults. Tennessee is addressing the money part, to its credit. From The Tennessean.

Survey reveals why it's so hard for adults to go back to college
Money is a key hurdle for many working adults interested in higher education. 
Tuition and fees were listed as a barrier by 81 percent of the survey participants, the report said. Three fourths of respondents said they needed help finding extra money to pay for college. 
"People who are out in the workplace, they don’t have the extra money to take a class here and there,” Ward said. “That money means the difference between going to school and not going to school.” 
Ward predicted that Gov. Bill Haslam's Tennessee Reconnect proposal to make community college tuition-free for adults without a degree could "change the game" by dramatically easing the financial burden many adult students face. The report said employees also struggle with other costs, like books and transportation. 
At Schwan Cosmetics USA, one of the companies that participated in the survey, the report could represent an impetus to consider establishing new programming or fine-tuning existing policies. Schwan has intensified its focus on promoting higher education in the last year or so, and there is a longstanding tuition reimbursement program, but managers are looking to the report for some guidance on next steps.
“We still have room to grow. We don’t have a ton of people pursuing degrees,” said Laurie Morra, manager of training and development. “It helps us to look at (the report) and say, ‘What can we do to make it easier?’” 
The report said cost can still be a hurdle for employees who have to pay tuition up-front and wait for reimbursement. Morra said managers are reviewing her company's tuition reimbursement plan and considering possible adjustments, though she said nothing had been finalized. 
Previous strategies depended on employees seeking out information. But after reviewing the survey, Morra said, the company would make an effort — both independently and in partnership with the Reconnect Community — to be more aggressive in promoting higher education and offering help. 
The report is “prompting us to be more proactive rather than reactive, sitting and waiting for people to come talk to us," she said.

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