Best Colleges for Adult Learners

2018 College Rankings by Washington Monthly: Best Colleges for Adult Learners: 2 Year Colleges

Washington Monthly is known for their annual rankings of colleges and universities with lists like Top 4-year Universities or Best Bang for Your Buck in each US region. And since 2016, Best Colleges for Adult Learners. 

This is an important addition to college rankings since reports indicate that one-third of college attendees are adults (aged 25 and older), many who are part-time students with families and jobs. Washington Monthly claims to be the only publication to rank colleges in terms of their benefit for adult learners. 

The publication takes many factors into account, eliminating schools from eligibility if they don’t partake in the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges, for example. Other restrictions eliminate schools who only offer graduate programs, certificates, or who are specialized programs like medical or rabbinical schools.

The rankings are based on 8 factors:

  • Ease of transfer/enrollment
  • Flexibility of programs
  • Services available for adult students
  • Percentage of adult students (25+) at the college
  • Graduation rates of part-time students
  • Mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
  • Loan repayment rates of adult students five years after entering repayment
  • Tuition fees for in-district students

To read more about the methodologies and rankings factors, click here.

Wisconsin Tops the Charts

In the 2018 Best Colleges for Adult Learners: 2 Year Colleges, Wisconsin schools outshine the others.

29 states have at least one college appearing on the list, and only one state has more colleges in the top 100 than Wisconsin. Here are the top states, ranked by number of colleges appearing in the top 100:

  • Washington: 13
  • Wisconsin: 11
  • Pennsylvania: 11
  • California: 11
  • Massachusetts: 9
  • New York: 5
  • Maryland: 5

To see the full 2018 list, click here.

Wisconsin’s ranking has steadily increased since the first year these statistics were released (2016).

In 2016, Wisconsin had 7 colleges in the top 100, with the 7th coming in at the 100th spot on the list.

In 2017, Wisconsin again had 7 colleges in the top 100, but the lowest WI rank in that list was 57th.

In 2018, not only did Wisconsin have 11 colleges in the top 100, but all 11 appeared in the top 75, and 7 of those appeared in the top 27.

Wisconsin Technical College System

There are 16 schools in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) accounting for a total of 49 campuses across the state.

According to the WTCS website, the schools are especially valuable to adult learners because they “provide countless on-line learning opportunities, or blended options that combine on-line learning with hands-on skills instruction. The colleges also provide customized business solutions that help employers ensure a skilled incumbent workforce ready to improve processes or incorporate new technology.”

The 11 that ranked in the top 100 of 2018 are: