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ERIC Number: EJ1069544
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun-9
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1938-5978
To Knock Down Barriers for Returning Adult Learners, RI Tries Something New
Money, Tracy; Littky, Dennis; Bush, Adam
New England Journal of Higher Education, Jun 2015
In a historic unanimous vote on May 20, 2015, the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education welcomed College Unbound as a degree-granting postsecondary option in the state, designed to serve the more than 110,000 Rhode Island adults who began but did not complete bachelor's degrees. The college is the adult-learning initiative of Big Picture Learning, a nonprofit organization dedicated to a fundamental redesign of education in the U.S. College Unbound has broken with tradition, painting a new picture of college. It is "unbound" from conventional structures, designed specifically to meet the needs of the underserved adult learner in unique ways. College Unbound provides more than a single intervention aimed at accommodating adults; it combines several interventions in a carefully designed program that has been tested and proven successful with underrepresented, low-income, returning adult learners over the last six years. It facilitates a real-life curriculum built around projects which students design in connection to their work and interests in an online environment. The development of Lifelong Learning Competencies and field-specific knowledge and skills are interwoven through a combination of courses, field studies in the student's own workplace and community, and in-depth work on projects with meaningful impact. The article concludes that by welcoming College Unbound as a degree-granting postsecondary option, Rhode Island is opening doors for the underserved adult learner, recognizing that the clock, the dollar, and tolerance levels for irrelevant curriculum only stretch so far.
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Rhode Island
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A