A study of older adult students in a community college setting



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine the activities, conflicts, and negotiations of older adult students (aged 55 and older) enrolled in the academic program of a suburban community college in the Southwestern United States. The study answered the following research questions: (a) What are some identifiable demographic characteristics of a group of older adult community college students? (b) What attracts and/or repels older adult students to/from a community college campus? (c) What social groupings are evident on a community college campus where older adult students are enrolled? (d) How do older adults negotiate the role of being a college student? and (e) What present institutional practices or structures effect the social/domestic and college lifestyles of older adult students? Procedure. Data were obtained over a one semester period from the following sources: (a) 76 older adult students voluntarily responded to a 25-item questionnaire, (b) interviews were conducted with young and older students, students' family members, course instructors, and college administrators, (c) two older student volunteers functioned as key informants over a three month period, and (d) observations of classes with and without older student participants were conducted. Collected information included Agreement to Participate forms. completed survey instruments, tape recordings of interviews, and extensive notes and ethnographic fieldnotes. Univariate descriptions and selected relationships among variables were derived from the questionnaire responses. All other data were analyzed to describe the intricacies and interactions of older adult student life. [...]



Older people--Education--Research, Community colleges