Mason cited as a best college for adult learners

George Mason University is ranked No. 6 nationally, and tops in Virginia, as a best four-year college for adult learners, according to Washington Monthly magazine’s latest evaluation.

Through initiatives such as the Online Virginia Network and graduate courses offered through a partnership with John Wiley & Sons Inc., Mason has vastly expanded its online offerings, which cater to adult learners, said Michelle Marks, Mason’s vice president for academic innovation and new ventures.

“This is absolutely consistent with our mission to support all our students, not only students who are of traditional age, but also students who are older adults, many of whom are working professionals, many of whom have stepped out of the college experience earlier in their lives and want to get back,” Marks said.

Washington Monthly looked at 3,487 postsecondary institutions and used seven metrics in its analysis: ease of transfer and enrollment; flexibility of programs; services available for adult students; the percentage of students ages 25 and older; part-time student graduation rates; mean earnings of adult students 10 years after entering college and loan payment rates for adult students five years after beginning repayment.

Of the 100 institutions listed, Mason ranked No. 9 in loan repayment (75 percent) and No. 20 in mean earnings ($66,522) 10 years after college entry. Mason also scored four out of five points for ease of transfer and enrollment, eight out of nine for flexibility of programs and six out of six for services available for adult students.

“Being strong in serving adult learners means you are willing to be flexible, open during different hours, providing educational opportunities online, having student services available through the web or on the phone,” Marks said. “We continue to build our services as part of our vision to serve students in the most efficient and affordable way.”

In other Washington Monthly rankings, Mason is No. 59 overall nationally of 316 listed institutions. Mason was also one of only 58 institutions cited as a best college for student voting because of measures it takes to boost student voting rates and civic participation.

You can see all the rankings here.