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Leaders in Professional, Continuing and Online Education

An Insider's Guide to Generation Z and Higher Education

Gen Z

Generation Z remains a mystery for us, as well as business and industry. Only recently has the media and corporate America invested in better understanding them. In fact, they still argue about their definition and their ages. At UPCEA, we define Generation Z as those born between 1995 and 2005, or those roughly 12 to 22 years of age at the time of this report. Other organizations define Generation Z to be even younger. For greater relevance, we've taken the iGeneration segment of them, those age 14 to 22, for this study. We've chosen this group because the bulk of them are either in college, chose not to go to college, or are in high school.

Our organizations have focused primarily on adult and corporate learners. Twenty years ago, we had a great opportunity with the number of adults who did not finish their degree or earned an associate's degree. We served them through degree completion. Ten years ago, we migrated higher education to an online model. Now, we are faced with the most educated cohort of our lives, and thus degree completion is less relevant, but one that may value education more. They are also much more savvy and have more choices.

There is so much more to learn about the iGen and Generation Z that will impact our educational offerings, marketing and enrollment management. Generation Z communicates differently and has different values from the other generations. They are also a generation ready for our world of robotics, autonomous vehicles, healthcare technology and renewable energy.

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