Anderson University has received a state grant to increase its focus on adult student learners. The award is part of a statewide program that wants to see more people in Indiana get a degree – a goal of 60 percent of all Hoosiers by 2025. As IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, Anderson’s adult learning population is small, but school staff says they are essential to the local community.
Anderson University has about 100 adult learners, which is between 8 and 10 percent of the student population. But, as they say, representation is everything.
“We may not come with the largest enrollment numbers of some of the big publics or the Ivy Techs, but what we do plays a valuable role in our communities and in the lives of individuals.”
Stephanie Moran is the Director of Engagement and Adult Student Experience at AU. She says the more-than $13,000 grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education is helping pay for a few things. The paint is still drying on an adult student lounge space. A success coach has been hired to be part advisor, part sounding board, and part campus services navigator for adult students.
She says the newest thing the grant has made possible are family night events on campus.
“What we need most sometimes, we’re least likely to obtain, because the access those things are challenging. And so, when we thought about ‘How could we incorporate an opportunity for the adult students to have their needs met, but not be a time where they had to be separate from their families?’”
For these events, AU students will help engage children in educational activities while their student parents can get extra tutoring or mental health counseling.
The grant money will also pay for some technology that can be loaned out to adult students if, say, a laptop breaks and there’s no money in a family budget for an immediate replacement.
Anderson University is one of four locations to receive a state Adult Promise Grant.