More than 40 percent of American undergraduate college students are adults over the age of 25, many of whom are holding down jobs while working toward a degree. Yet the deck is stacked against them in many states as a result of limitations to financial aid. These policies are short-sighted: For the United States to remain competitive globally, it is essential to develop the skills and competencies of adults who are already in the workforce.
The limitations on student aid are sometimes in the form of dollar amounts and sometimes in the form of eligibility. According to one recent study, six states do not make any aid available to adults, and another dozen significantly restrict the amount of financial aid for students who are not recent high-school graduates.