Adult Reengagement

Over 300,000 adults in Washington have one year of college but no degree.

The Washington Adult Reengagement Framework will provide the infrastructure and support for adults without a degree or meaningful postsecondary credential to achieve their academic and career goals, earn a living wage, and contribute to Washington’s vital economy. 

The Need for Action

Though many adults understand the benefits of higher education, significant barriers stand in their way. For example, financial constraints and family obligations make it hard to return to college. Those same barriers can result in further delays or abandonment of their educational aspirations. 

If Washington adults do not have accessible and affordable options for postsecondary education, they risk continued underemployment without the many benefits that come from earning a postsecondary credential.

Pathways for Returning Adults

The completion of a postsecondary credential is critical for participation and success in the 21st century economy. Empowering adults to return to the classroom, complete their credential, and advance in their careers can have profound benefits on Washington’s families, our communities, and state’s economic and civic health.

The Critical Framework Components

The following three components are critical to the development of an Adult Reengagement Framework:

  1. The communications component develops an online tool, leverages existing tools, and implements targeted outreach to connect returning adults to programs.  

  2. The cost component addresses affordability-related barriers, including access to financial aid and prior debt accumulation.

  3. The completion component supports the development of regional, career-focused, adult friendly pathway; addresses enrollment barriers; and expands supports to returning adult students.

Washington is Ready

Washington, with its strong foundation of work and commitment to an inclusive and responsive higher education system, is well-positioned to develop a framework to reengage adult learners. Washington:

  • Ranks first in the nation in need-based financial aid per undergraduate enrollment.
  • Serves nearly 70,000 students (over 42 percent aged 24 or older) through the State Need Grant.
  • Provides strong pathways for transfer students and returning students, including policies to support students in receiving credit for prior learning.
  • Supports a number of policies that increase the access to and the affordability of higher education.

Poised for Success

To meet this need for skilled employees, Washington adopted a goal of at least 70 percent of all adults (ages 25-44) completing a postsecondary certificate or degree. Work on the Adult Reengagement Framework is an essential step to reaching the educational attainment goal.

Success will hinge on continued partnerships with key stakeholders from higher education, businesses and employers, targeted regions of the state, state agencies, and policy makers, who together will strengthen and define our shared commitment to serving adult students.


Meetings and Agendas


Advisory Team: August 1, 2017

Technical Team: July 31, 2017

Advisory Team: June 15, 2017

Advisory Team: March 31, 2017

Advisory Team

Advisory Team Members
  • Roster pending

Reports and Resources

Technical Team

Team Members

Allan Atienzo, Independent Colleges of Washington

Anne Cubilie, Central Washington University

Bob Collins, Western Governor's University

Boyoung Chae, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Caryn Regimbal, Bellingham Technical College

Deb Gilchrist, Pierce Community College

Elizabeth Lewis, University of Washington

George Freeman, The Evergreen State College

Gil Mendoza, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

Jenee Myers Twitchell, University of Washington

Jerad Sorber, Grays Harbor College

Jessica Hunnicutt, University of Washington

Jodi Strote, Greater Spokane Inc.

John Neace, Eastern Washington University

Kristina Brown, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Lindsey Brown, Central Washington University

Lynn Briggs, Eastern Washington University

Marc Geisler, Western Washington University

Marina Parr, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board

Mary Wack, Washington State University

Melanie Palm, Central Washington University

Mike Singletary, Whatcom Community College

Nancy Dick, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Neil Woolf, Eastern Washington University

Paul Francis, Council of Presidents

Richard DeSheilds, Central Washington University

Rick Fehrenbacher, Seattle University

Samantha R. Powers, University of Washington

Saralyn Smith, Pacific Lutheran University

Terese King, Washington State University

Tricia Bateman, The Evergreen State College

Vi Boyer, Independent Colleges of Washington