August 29, 2016

SIU among top 25 best colleges for adult learners

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale has earned a top-25 spot on the Washington Monthly 2016 College Guide’s inaugural rankings of the “Best 4-Year Colleges for Adult Learners.” 

SIU is ranked No. 21, the top Illinois university on the list. To determine the rankings, Washington Monthly began with more than 7,600 postsecondary institutions listed in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System as being active during the 2014-2015 academic year. In order to be included in the rankings, institutions also had to participate in the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges, providing adequate data for evaluation. 

The institutions were then assessed on the basis of seven criteria: ease of transfer/enrollment, flexibility of programs, services available for adult students, the percentage of adult students (age 25 and older) at the college, the mean earnings of adult students 10 years after entering college, loan repayment rates for adult students five years after entering repayment, and the tuition and fees for in-district students. 

SIU earned the maximum possible scores for ease of transfer, flexibility of programs and services provided for students over the age of 25. According to the Washington Monthly, about 20 percent of SIU’s students are over the age of 25 and the mean earnings of adult students 10 years after beginning college are $53,033. This group includes students who were over the age of 25 when they started college or younger independent students who are veterans or have children.  According to the publication, the loan repayment rate of SIU adult students five years after leaving college was 78 percent. 

The complete rankings and additional information are available online at