THE ROLE OF SOCIAL CAPITAL IN ADULT COLLEGE REENTRY: A CASE STUDY OF GRADUATE! PHILADELPHIA
Raising postsecondary degree completion rates is a national priority and some states have adult degree completion programs that are designed to increase the number of adult residents with a college degree. However, no known study examines how the information and services offered by adult degree completion programs affect adults’ postsecondary reentry decisions. Using a survey, interviews and observation this case study addresses this knowledge gap by examining how the information and services provided by one adult degree completion program affect adults’ college reentry decisions.
Results of the study indicate that Graduate! Philadelphia (G!P) promotes adult college reentry by facilitating the flow college information, consistent with social capital theory. Interview and survey data indicate that the financial aid information and college choice information adults received induced their college reentry. Introductions to partner college advisors, encouragement, and exposure to an environment that validated adult learners’ identity also prompted adults’ college reentry.
This research extends previous research by considering how the provision of college information affects adults’ college reentry decisions. Study results provide direction for theory, policy and practice related to college reentry.