Adult Reengagement

Washington's Adult Reengagement Framework

The Washington Adult Reengagement Framework will provide the infrastructure and support for adults without a postsecondary credential to achieve their academic and career goals, earn a living wage, and contribute to Washington’s vital economy.

The Need for Action

Over 300,000 adults in Washington have one year of college but no degree.

Though many adults understand the benefits of higher education, significant barriers stand in their way. For example, financial constraints and family obligations make it hard to return to college. Those same barriers can result in further delays or abandonment of their educational aspirations. 

If Washington adults do not have accessible and affordable options for postsecondary education, they risk continued underemployment without the many benefits that come from earning a postsecondary credential.

Pathways for Returning Adults

The completion of a postsecondary credential is critical for participation and success in the 21st century economy. Empowering adults to return to the classroom, complete their credential, and advance in their careers can have profound benefits on Washington’s families, our communities, and state’s economic and civic health.

The Framework Components

The Adult Reengagement Framework will provide state-level coordination to reach adult learners and support colleges in meeting their needs. WSAC and partners are focused on key strategies in three areas:

  1. Communications: Identify former students, develop an online reengagement tool, and implement targeted outreach to connect returning adults to programs and supportive campuses.
  2. Cost: Address affordability issues including access to financial aid, and pilot a MicroGrant to address small-dollar barriers prior to course registration.
  3. Completion: Support the development of regional, career-focused, adult friendly pathways; address enrollment barriers; and expand campus supports to returning adult students.

Washington is Ready

Washington has a strong foundation of work and commitment to an inclusive and responsive higher education system, and is well-positioned to develop a framework to reengage adult learners. Washington is:

  • Nationally recognized for its commitment to financial aid for low-income students..
  • Serves nearly 70,000 students (over 42 percent aged 24 or older) through the Washington College Grant.
  • Provides strong pathways for transfer students and returning students, including policies to support students in receiving credit for prior learning.

Poised for Success

To meet this critical need for skilled employees, Washington adopted a goal of at least 70 percent of all adults (ages 25-44) completing a postsecondary certificate or degree. Establishing the Adult Reengagement Framework is an essential step to reaching the educational attainment goal. Success will hinge on continued partnerships with key stakeholders from higher education, businesses and employers, targeted regions of the state, state agencies, and policy makers, who together will strengthen and define our shared commitment to serving adult students.

Progress with Partners

WSAC has engaged with educational and community partners to build the framework in preparation for Phase 1 outreach to adult learners by fall 2019. An update of major milestones and next steps is included in the table below.

For more information including how you can become involved, go to the tabs below.

Adult Reengagement Phase 1 Update

Strategies Recent Progress Next Steps Through Summer
Online Tool for Adult Reengagement
  • Finalized business requirements including modern user experience design
  • Received approval from state oversight (OCIO) for in-house development of stand-alone tool
  • Develop interactive content
  • Determine program data process
  • Begin coding and development
  • Build campus profiles
Outreach & Marketing
  • Selected MadCap Marketing and reviewed timeline and scope of work
  • Pulled former student data set and reviewed characteristics
  • Determined tool will provide regional and customized results
  • Select initiative brand
  • Develop state-level outreach messages
  • Review campaign including user testing feedback and testimonials
Campus Engagement
  • Formed campus leadership “sounding board” group to review Phase 1 development
  • Visiting with campus teams to determine level of participation
  • Meet with individual campus teams and appropriate committee groups to advise on Phase I participation
  • Developing pilots with community partners on each side of the state
  • Evaluate feedback from partners to inform statewide implementation

Adult Reengagement Timeline

2019 AR Timeline Update

How your college can get involved

To participate in the Adult Reengagement initiative, there are three steps:

  1. On-site leadership team informational session
  2. Development of campus profile and review of program data
  3. Participation agreement for responses to “leads” and description of policies, programs and services provided

Contact information:

Rachelle Sharpe, Deputy Executive Director


Advisory Teams


February 26, 2018

July 31, 2018

April 20, 2018

December 11, 2017

October 6, 2017

July 31, 2017

August 1, 2017

  • Washington Student Achievement Council, Olympia
  • Agenda  I  Presentation  I  Meeting Notes

June 15, 2017

March 31, 2017

2018 Summit

Effective Practices Exchange

On November 28, 2018, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) convened over 200 leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities to increase educational attainment of adult learners in Washington State. Visit the event archive to learn more and access materials from the 2018 Adult Reengagement Summit.

Reports and Resources

Reports and Resources