Colleges work to help adults who have postsecondary experience, but no bachelor’s
The year was 1989, and Randal Houle had just graduated from R.A. Long High School in Longview. He enrolled in Lower Columbia College, but about a year later, dropped out.
“I got really depressed and kind of quit,” said Houle, who now lives in Vancouver.
He gave college another try in the mid-1990s, but he had children at that point, a job, and again, he stopped.
Houle is 48 now, and on track to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Washington State University Vancouver.
“This is what I should have done all along,” Houle said.
Houle isn’t alone in his stop-and-go experience when it comes to higher education. Data released in October by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows that 36 million Americans obtained some postsecondary education, but have not completed their degrees. Census data suggests that 27.5 percent of Clark County residents aged 25 or older have some college, but no degree, according to the latest American Community Survey five-year estimates, compared with 23.7 percent statewide. Nationwide, 20.6 percent of adults have some college but no degree.