In order for Florida to be ready for tomorrow’s jobs, we need adults who have started college to complete a credential.

FCAN’s Kathy McDonald, assistant director of network partnerships, recently hosted Complete Florida’s director Dr. Michelle Horton, and Jehan Clark, a Complete Florida graduate and program manager, for a discussion on the common hurdles adult students face and how creative institutions are meeting the challenge.

Did You Know?

Adult learners face unique challenges their first-time-in-college peers don’t. Those barriers include:

Uneven Course Credit History

Some adults started college right out of high school when they weren’t ready. Now, they have to overcome a credit history that doesn’t reflect their current maturity and motivation.

Support needed – Help navigating options: Busy adults need help finding the college option that will accept the most number of course credits they previously earned. As a result, they need guidance in knowing how to ask for course substitutions and how to take advantage of a transient student status that can get them to the finish line sooner.


Seventy five percent of today’s college students are juggling some combination of work, school, and family while commuting to class. These competing demands mean a majority of adult students are concerned about their work/life/school balance.

Support needed – Flexibility: Adults are looking for flexible course schedules that work around their schedule, such as shorter-term lengths and online/hybrid course options.


While traditional age college students are concerned with how they will pay for their education, adults have additional challenges in that they may have already exhausted available financial aid, or they are dealing with a credit hold or a student loan default. And with adults often attending college part-time, many sources of financial aid like Bright Futures are not available to them.

Support needed – Alternative course credit options: Alternative credit options such as CLEP exams, ACE workforce training credits, and prior learning assessments all help adults earn credit for experience, which saves them time and money.

With clear career plans tied to their education goals, adults often excel where they once struggled. With some strategic support, these adults can finally finish what they started, creating brighter futures for themselves, their family and their community.

You may also be interested in these sessions at the 2018 FCAN Summit

The 2018 Florida College Access Network Summit features 30 breakout sessions with more than 50 speakers highlighting the latest developments in college access, postsecondary success, college affordability, career readiness and workforce development, data and measurement, and collective impact. Some of the sessions with content aimed at adult earners include:

Coaching to Completion: Increasing Degree Attainment for Returning Adults (Pre-summit session on May 10, open to all attendees)

– Presenters: Complete Florida, Complete College America, and the Graduate Network

Alternative Credit and Adult Learners:  Changing Our Culture

– Presenter:  Dr. Michelle Horton and Dr. Karen Rasmussen, Complete Florida

Closing Equity Gaps for Adult Learners:  Innovative Strategies for Community

– Presenter:  Dakota Pawlicki, Lumina Education Foundation

A-STEP into the Middle Class:  Advancing Education Equity for Underserved Adults

– Presenter:  Jill Black, Leah Lynch and Martha Tellez, Goodwill of North Florida

Show notes:

Slides, Recording
Handout: Alternative College Course Credit Options

Be sure to visit our Past Webinars page for access to recordings and downloadable material from FCAN’s previous presentations.

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