October 10, 2017

SIU Carbondale ranked one of the top colleges for adult learners

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly has recognized Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s commitment to non-traditional students by ranking it among the “2017 America’s Best Colleges for Adult Learners.”

SIU is the top ranked Illinois school, earning the No. 36 spot.

“The existence of SIU’s Non-Traditional Student Services office demonstrates the university’s commitment to ensuring the success of our adult students,” said Kathy Smith-Shaffer, coordinator of non-traditional student services. “SIU understands the challenges and needs of the adult learner and strives to create a welcoming and supportive community through programming, guidance and resource referral. The fact that our efforts are being recognized by Washington Monthly makes me think we are on the right track.”

In addition to referring students to valuable resources and services on- and off campus, Non-Traditional Student Services also offers a number of special services and activities, including a comprehensive online resource guide for students and a family carnival, held each August for students and their children to give families a chance to socialize and learn about campus and community resources. In addition, the office will be starting a new Parent Support Group this semester. It will meet at Evergreen Terrace and provide SIU students who are parents the opportunity to share their challenges and offer support to one another.

Washington Monthly evaluated nearly 7,650 institutes listed in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data system as being active during the 2015-2016 academic year, excluding those not participating in federal financial aid programs, those with less than 100 students, those outside the United States and programs that had closed. To be included, institutions also have to participate in the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges and submit adequate data for consideration.

The institutions were then assessed using seven standards: ease of transfer/enrollment, flexibility of programs, services available for adult students, percentage of adult students, mean earnings of adult students 10 years after entering college, loan repayment rates of adult students five years after beginning repayment and the institution’s tuition and fees for in-district students.

SIU earned the maximum available points for flexibility of programs, services for adult student and ease of transfer. The rankings also noted that about 19 percent of SIU’s students are over the age of 25.