GSE Graduate Student Research

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version



For access to the inventory, typology, and map that accompany the executive summary, literature review, and opportunities for policy and research, please visit the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness' (SREE) Summer Fellows Research Findings page:


With generous support from Grantmakers for Education’s Learning, Evaluation & Data Impact Group and the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, I partnered with Ascendium and program officers in their Streamline Key Learner Transitions focus area to examine the current status, scope, and impact of existing retention and completion strategies to support adult learners and some college, no degree students.

This project had four primary goals: (1) to assemble an inventory of existing programs; (2) to develop a typology of these programs across important contextual domains; (3) to compile a brief literature review of existing research on strategies to support adult learners and some college, no degree students; and (4) to identify actionable opportunities for research, philanthropy, and policy or practice. This executive summary focuses on the first two goals and additionally presents and describes a third deliverable: a map of programs included in the inventory and typology.

The Adult Learner and Some College, No Degree Student Program Inventory is a representative list of 83 individual programs and 15 common strategies that states, regions, and institutions have adopted to serve adult learners and some college, no degree students across a variety of levels, contexts, and strategies. The Typology takes these programs and scatters them across important program domains—location, audience, strategy, and solution—allowing one to quickly view clusters of practices and to begin answering “what works.” A map then captures the state, regional, and institutional programs to view their geographic reach and to identify areas of relatively high or low support for adult learners and some college, no degree students.


higher education, adult learners, some college no degree, public policy

Additional Files

Inventory.xlsx (157 kB)

Typology.pdf (489 kB)

Map.pdf (153 kB)



Date Posted: 05 May 2021