Press Release: National Grant to Help Adults with Some College Credit Finish Their Degrees

Published sep. 29, 2010

BOSTON, MA (September 29, 2010) — Roughly 37 million American adults have some college credit but, for many reasons, have not yet earned a degree. Now a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education to Jobs for the Future (JFF) seeks to help adults in three states get past their obstacles and onto graduation.

This four-year, $800,000 grant will help expand programs at 17 community colleges across Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina that help low-skilled adults 25 years or older with some college credit to earn occupational/technical credentials in high-demand sectors like health care and “green” jobs.

JFF is one of nineteen grantees awarded funding from Lumina Foundation’s new Adult Degree Completion Strategy.

“Adults returning to college face unique challenges; many have low skill levels, family responsibilities, or the need to balance work and learning,” said Maria Flynn, vice president of JFF. “Our goal is to help colleges design programs that respond to the needs of adult learners and keep them on track toward degrees that will earn them higher-paying jobs.”

JFF’s goal is to advance policies within the three states’ community colleges that would help these programs grow—and help adults move through them more easily. To do so, it will build on its work managing the Breaking Through initiative, which enables low-skilled adults with some or no prior credits to earn college credentials.

“A large part of our economic recovery,” Flynn continued, “depends on the educational success of these 37 million adults,” Flynn said. “We believe that by engaging state, system, and community college leaders around Breaking Through-related policy reform, states can implement changes that will improve both the number of students served and their success rates.”

“There is growing evidence that adults who have gone to college but not received a degree are looking for a second chance but need the right kind of information and motivation to help them succeed,” says Lumina President/CEO Jamie Merisotis. “This vital work aligns directly with our goal to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Given demographic trends and attainment rates among young adults, it is highly unlikely that the nation can meet its growing need for college-educated workers only by focusing on recent high school graduates.”

For more information on Breaking Through, visit:

Full details on all of Lumina Foundation’s grants can be found at:

About Breaking Through
Breaking Through, a national multiyear project, promotes and strengthens the efforts of innovative community colleges across the country to help low-literacy adults prepare for and succeed in occupational and technical degree programs. The goal is to strengthen postsecondary outcomes for low-income adults by focusing on strategies that create more effective pathways through pre-college and degree-level programs.

About Lumina Foundation for Education
Lumina Foundation for Education is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Our goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future works with our partners to design and drive adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling to succeed in today’s economy.
Twitter: @JFFtweets