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Program Details

Grant Program: Postsecondary and Adult Education
Contacts: Dr. Meredith Larson
(202) 804-7451

Dr. James Benson
(202) 245-8333

PDF File FY 2025 84.305A (PDF: 745 KB)
MS Word FY 2025 84.305A (DOC: 282 KB)

Contact Dr. Meredith Larson for Adult Education, Postsecondary Teaching and Learning Topics
Contact Dr. James Benson for Postsecondary Policies, Systems, and Broad Reforms Topics

The Postsecondary and Adult Education (PSAE) topic area supports research that will lead to improved access to, persistence in, progress through, and completion of postsecondary and adult education programs, including the full range of adult literacy activities described in Title II of the 2015 Work Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), sub-baccalaureate programs, and associate's and bachelor's degree programs. PSAE research also aims to improve instruction and learning in postsecondary and adult education settings and helping to ensure that learners develop the skills and abilities required for continued success in education and beyond.

The long-term outcome of this research is to establish an array of effective tools and strategies (e.g., practices, assessments, programs, policies) for improving education outcomes of postsecondary students and adult education learners.


The PSAE topic was established in FY 2011. However, as early as 2006, NCER supported postsecondary and adult education research through various programs including the National Research and Development Center program and topic areas including Reading and Writing, Interventions for Struggling Adolescent and Adult Readers and Writers, Middle and High School Reform, Postsecondary, and Adult Education.

By joining the postsecondary education and adult education research foci into one topic area, NCER acknowledged the complex and sometimes overlapping paths adult learners travel when pursuing education throughout their lives.

NCER Adult Education and Foundational Skills Projects Since FY04

The PSAE topic area has helped expand NCER's research base on adult education and adult foundational skills. Between 2004 and 2021, NCER has invested approximately $51.8 million in research relevant to adults with low foundational skills who are in or eligible for adult education services across 27 awards through not only PSAE but also other competitions. Please see a list of the NCER adult education and foundational skills projects funded since 2004 here:

NCER-Funded Adult Education and Adult Foundational Skills Research FY04–21
MS Word Download, view, and print in MS Word format (18 KB)
PDF File View, download, and print as a PDF file (108 KB)


Active R&D and Research Networks:
Accelerating Recovery in Community Colleges Network
Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness
CREATE Adult Skills Research Network
Postsecondary Teaching with Technology Collaborative

See Also the IES-Wide Topic Pages:
Adult Basic Skills
Postsecondary Education