Hidden in Plain Sight: Part-Time College Students in America

Nearly 4 in 10 American college students are enrolled in school part-time. Many are adults trying to balance the dream of a college degree with the need to earn a living and support a family. Unfortunately, the American higher education system is failing many of them. Of exclusively part-time students, only about a quarter earn a degree. Those who attend a portion of their college career part-time also fare poorly: Just over half earn a degree. That’s compared with the almost 80 percent of exclusively full-time students who earn degrees. Part-time college students have been hidden in plain sight, overlooked in federal graduation rates, and too often forgotten by policymakers.

A new report from the Center for American Progress calls for institutional leaders, researchers, and policymakers to put part-time students at the center of the conversation about improving college success in order to build a competitive economy and offer more Americans a path to the middle class. Please join a conversation with part-time students, community college leaders, and policy experts to explore why students study part-time, what barriers they face, and how we can help them succeed in college.

A conversation with:
Missy Antonio, student, Community College of Baltimore County

Savonna Ward, student, Trinity Washington University

Moderated by:
Marcella Bombardieri, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress

Distinguished panelists:

Johari A. Barnes, Director of Academic Support, Community College of Baltimore County

Neal Holly, Assistant Director, Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute, Education Commission of the States

Juan Salgado, Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago

Karen A. Stout, President and CEO, Achieving the Dream Inc.

Moderated by:
Marcella Bombardieri, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress


1333 H Street Northwest, Washington, DC, United States

Additional information


Closed-captioned-enabled video will be posted following the conclusion of the event.
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