New indicators on mature students included in ETER

ETER now includes essential indicators shedding light on the participation of adult learners in higher education. Specifically, we have included indicators that measure the share of mature students, providing valuable insights into their engagement in tertiary education. Mature students and graduates are classified as individuals above 24 years of age. This age threshold is used to identify and analyse the participation of adult learners in higher education institutions (HEIs). To capture the participation of mature students, we have computed separate indicators for ISCED6 and ISCED7 (including ISCED7 long degrees) students and graduates. These indicators provide a comprehensive view of the engagement of adult learners in various educational programmes and levels.

The share of mature students is an important indicator of the extent to which adult learners are participating in higher education. By analysing this indicator, policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders can gain insights into the inclusivity and accessibility of HEIs for individuals who choose to pursue education later in life. The figures below provides an illustrative example of the share of mature ISCED 6 and ISCED 7 students on the institutional level for selected countries. The boxplots show significant differences across countries and large variations within the respective national higher education systems.

Boxplot of share of mature students ISCED 6 for selected countries, 2020
Boxplot of share of mature students ISCED 7 for selected countries, 2020
Note: In the boxplot, the solid line is the median of the cases, top and down of the box, the first, respectively, and the third quartile. Dots are outliers.

We encourage you to explore the ETER database and leverage these indicators to gain valuable insights into the participation of mature students in higher education institutions across Europe. These indicators contribute to a deeper understanding of the diverse student population and the need for tailored strategies to support adult learners’ educational journeys.