Who Should Re-enroll in College? The Academic and Labor Market Profile of Adults with Substantial College Credits But No Degree Jun 01, 2020 By Kelli A. BirdBenjamin CastlemanBrett FischerBenjamin T. Skinner Who Should Re-enroll in College? The Academic and Labor Market Profile of Adults with Substantial College Credits But No Degree Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, and a sizable share of these job losses may be permanent. Unemployment rates are particularly high among adults without a college degree. Recent state policy efforts have focused on increasing re-enrollment and credentialing among adults with some college but no degree (SCND); these efforts are likely to accelerate given the COVID-19 disruptions to the U.S. economy. Yet little is actually known about the background characteristics, academic experiences, or labor market trajectories of this 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 on key measures to VCCS graduates. We also develop a framework for prioritizing which segments of the SCND population states might target for re-enrollment and completion interventions. This framework may be particularly useful to states that need to fill critical workforce shortages in healthcare and other sectors or re-train their workforce in the wake of mass unemployment and economic disruption stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. Link to Paper Areas of focus Education UVA partners EdPolicyWorks: Center for Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness Kelli A. Bird 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 Brett Fischer Benjamin T. Skinner Related Content Benjamin Castleman Unfinished Business? Academic and Labor Market Profile of Adults With Substantial College Credits But No Degree Research Using data from the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), this case provides the first detailed profile on the academic, employment, and earnings trajectories of the SCND population and how these compare with VCCS graduates. The scholars 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. 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. 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.