FAYETTEVILLE (February 1, 2023) – We’ve been hearing it for several years: Birth rates declined during the Great Recession, so we are approaching a demographic cliff and a decline in traditional college-age students.
The response, both by the UNC System and elsewhere, has been to focus on adult learners and make it easier for them to access higher education.1
Well, Fayetteville State University is already living it.
“We talk about 7,000 students here – we’re not just talking about kids,” Fayetteville State Chancellor Darrell Allison says in the accompanying video. “I hear that term all the time. We try not to use that here.”
Allison then shares some of the demographics of Fayetteville State’s student body:
- 52% are traditional students who came to college directly from high school.
- 46% are adult learners, 25 and over.
- Though Fayetteville State is a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), just 60% of its students are Black.
- Nearly 30% of its students are military-connected.
“We are probably one of the most diverse universities that you find who has that designation of Historically Black College and University,” Allison says.
“We’re very proud of that. Yes, we have the designation of a Historically Black College and University. But there are so many more communities, so many different populations and races that find us attractive as well. Our programs and the intimate approach that we have here, whether it be a traditional student or nontraditional, if you will, you have a home here and a space here.
“HBCUs yesteryear, and yes, HBCUs today. We’re still relevant – even more so.”
Other schools might learn a thing or two from Fayetteville State about welcoming adult learners.
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