Get Ready: Introducing the Millions of Adults Planning to Enroll in College


According to survey data gathered after the start of the pandemic, about one-fifth of California adults (5.1 million individuals ages 25 and older) intend to enroll in postsecondary education within the next two years. Even if only a fraction of these adults actually pursue their educational goals, the impact on California’s public college and university system would be staggering. Further, California could better meet workforce demands by supporting these adults to and through higher education.

The report’s detailed analysis provides insight into which programs and policies could encourage higher enrollment and graduation trends. Our research reveals which adults intend to enroll, the types of institutions they prefer, and whether they are interested in attending online.

key findings
  1. Overall, 19 percent of California adults (5.1 million) intend to enroll in higher education within the next two years.
  2. Almost 4 million Californians are interested in completely online instruction.
  3. One-third of Latinx adults intend to enroll in higher education, a substantially higher proportion than their white, Black, and Asian counterparts (6%, 11%, and 15%, respectively).
  4. Women intend to pursue higher education in greater proportion than men (22% versus 16%, respectively).
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