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 Education and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Read full bio Brett Fischer Benjamin T. Skinner Related Content Benjamin Castleman 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. Pushing College Advising Forward: Experimental Evidence on Intensive Advising and College Success Research Growing experimental evidence demonstrates that low-touch informational, nudge, and virtual advising interventions are ineffective at improving postsecondary educational outcomes for economically-disadvantaged students at scale. Intensive in-person college advising programs are a considerably higher-touch and more resource intensive strategy; some programs provide students with dozen of hours of individualized assistance starting in high school and continuing through college, and can cost thousands of dollars per student served. Castleman and Colleague Shed Light on Rewards of 'Credential Stacking' News The impact of “credential stacking” among community college students had long been of interest to Batten’s Ben Castleman and his colleague Katharine Meyer, but they became even more curious about it during the pandemic. UVA Researchers Offer Data on One of Higher Education’s Most Dramatic Shifts News In a new study, Batten’s Ben Castleman, along with his collaborators Gaby Lohner and Kelli Bird from the UVA School of Education and Human Development, investigated how the shift to online learning during COVID-19 has affected student success.