The United States has long witnessed a steady, pronounced shift in the profile of today’s typical college student. This individual is much more likely to have a job, support dependents of their own, be over the age of 25, and opt not to live in on-campus residences.

Because these students’ lives are likely more complex than the 18-to-22-year-old set, their academic paths are often marked by starts, stops, transfers, and varied institutions.

This report from Inside Higher Ed identifies some of the federal and state-level policies that impede adult learners, with insight on how policymakers could create more accessible, affordable, and successful paths into and through postsecondary education for these learners.