This research gives a snapshot of the financial and social costs and supports that adult learners on PEI experience in their pursuit of formal education. In addition, we have an early indication of the effects of these costs on students educational and career goals. But what about the big picture? Where does this research fit into adults’ long-term plans? A number of questions emerge from the examination of data collected. They can be divided into general areas of learner concerns, external supports, and internal program implications.
How long after meeting educational goals does the financial gain outweigh the actual financial cost of learning? In essence, when — in terms of actual dollars and cents — do mature students reach financial equilibrium between the money they invested in their education and an increased earning capacity?
How does this “financial equilibrium” compare for adult learners who enter or reenter the workforce versus those to go on to pursue post-secondary education? Is there a difference between a post-secondary college education and a university education? When do individuals in each path of education recover what is spent on the education itself?
Do adult learners on PEI weigh the personal gains from upgrading one’s education more heavily than the financial costs? Which reward is of primary importance to learners — the financial or social?
The information gathered by the 108 respondents and the trends discussed in the previous section do lead to important program-level implications. Specifically for government agencies with an interest in seeing students succeed in adult education, some aspects of policy must be revisited. How do government agencies that provide financial support to adult learners calculate need? Are their needs assessments realistic? Are these agencies actually meeting the needs of the students they are attempting/aiming to serve?