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An adult learner is defined as an enrolled student who meets at least one of the following:

  1. Is age 24 or older
  2. Is a veteran of the armed services or a person who is active-duty
  3. Is returning to school after four or more years of employment, homemaking, or other activity
  4. Is assuming  multiple roles, such as parent, spouse/partner, and employee

Adult learners have extraordinary challenges as they attempt to fulfill responsibilities to family and work while balancing requirements of being enrolled students. To provide better service to adult learners, certain accommodations are to be provided as they process administrative transactions within the university. Adult learners:

  1. Do not have to maintain continuous fall/spring enrollment (maximum stop-out = 3 years).
  2. May move freely among campuses without a formal change of home campus and adviser, provided that their academic program is offered at the campus of enrollment and that there are seats available in the courses at this campus, as defined by the registration priorities described in section 11 of AAPP C-2 Registration.
  3. May stay in their original program year.
  4. Are not subject to Senate Policies 83-80.2 and 83-80.3 (time for credit acquisition requirements).

The academic colleges have the responsibility of identifying their academic programs to which these adult learner accommodations would be extended. Colleges are encouraged to include as many programs in this category as possible, but it is recognized that due to limitations such as external accreditation, selected programs might not permit such accommodations.


  1. Determination of an adult learner will be made at the time of initial admission and recorded appropriately in the online student data system by the Undergraduate Admissions Officer or the college dean of the student's college of enrollment.
  2. The Office of the University Registrar is responsible for maintenance of the list of those academic programs that permit adult learner accommodations. The colleges are responsible for notifying the University Registrar of changes to this list. A program cannot be removed from the list if students are actively enrolled in the program.
  3. The re-enrollment process is the vehicle that will enforce the adult learner accommodations related to program year, period of non-enrollment, and allowable academic program. Adult learners whose period of non-enrollment is more than 3 years must be re-enrolled to continue their enrollment. Such re-enrollment requests will automatically require a Dean's review. The Dean may deny the re-enrollment request if the student's prior program is no longer offered.

    The Degree Audit process is the vehicle that will enforce adult learner accommodations related to completion of credit requirements.

(Ref: Senate Agenda, Appendix C, 3-25-76)

Approved: Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Vice Provost (3-23-87)
Revised: ACUE (1-21-99)
Revised: ACUE (6-4-15)