Faculty & Research Unfinished Business? Academic and Labor Market Profile of Adults With Substantial College Credits But No Degree Jan 26, 2022 By Benjamin CastlemanKelli BirdBrett FischerBenjamin T. Skinner Unfinished Business? Academic and Labor Market Profile of Adults With Substantial College Credits But No Degree Recent state policy efforts have focused on increasing attainment among adults with some college but no degree (SCND). Yet little is actually known about the SCND population. Using data from the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), we provide the first detailed profile on the academic, employment, and earnings trajectories of the SCND population and how these compare with VCCS graduates. We show that the share of SCND students who are academically ready to re-enroll and would benefit from doing so may be substantially lower than policy makers anticipate. Specifically, we estimate that few SCND students (approximately 3%) could fairly easily re-enroll in fields of study from which they could reasonably expect a sizable earnings premium from completing their degree. Link to Case (Subscription May Be Required) Areas of focus Education Benjamin Castleman Ben Castleman is an associate professor of public policy and education at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on policies and strategies to improve postsecondary educational and workforce outcomes for individuals from lower-income and historically-marginalized communities. His current work focuses on innovations to increase economic mobility among lower-wage adults, including digital- and health-skills training programs; state-funded career and technical education; and competency-based education models for working adults. Read full bio Kelli Bird Brett Fischer Benjamin T. Skinner Related Content Benjamin Castleman Stacking the Deck for Employment Success: Labor Market Returns to Stackable Credentials Research With rapid technological transformations to the labor market along with COVID-19 related economic disruptions, many working adults return to college to obtain additional training or credentials. Using a comparative individual fixed effects strategy and an administrative panel dataset of enrollment and employment in Virginia, we provide the first causal estimates of credential “stacking” among working adults. Pushing College Advising Forward: Experimental Evidence on Intensive Advising and College Success Research Growing experimental evidence demonstrates that low-touch informational, nudge, and virtual advising interventions are ineffective at improving postsecondary educational outcomes for economically-disadvantaged students at scale. Intensive in-person college advising programs are a considerably higher-touch and more resource intensive strategy; some programs provide students with dozen of hours of individualized assistance starting in high school and continuing through college, and can cost thousands of dollars per student served. Peer Mentoring Improves College Success for Lower-Income Students News In a research update brief, Batten Associate Professor Ben Castleman and colleagues show a sustained positive effect of peer mentoring on college persistence for lower-income students. First Gen Students Are Missing from the Nation’s Top Colleges. Here’s How Virtual Advising Could Help News Batten School professor Ben Castleman spoke with USA Today about the benefits of virtual peer-to-peer advising for first-generation college students.