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University of Phoenix Survey Confirms ‘Lack of Time’ is a Common Barrier to Education Seekers

By University of Phoenix

PHOENIX, Nov. 14, 2017 – A recent University of Phoenix survey of more than 1,000 US adults working more than 20 hours a week finds that just 41 percent of these working adults are very satisfied with their education and 54 percent are currently furthering or would like to further their education. Of those looking to do so, many cite the potential to increase earnings (88 percent), learn new things (87 percent) or find a better job (85 percent) as factors that would have a moderate to major impact on their motivation to return.

Despite these benefits, many cite a lack of time as a common barrier. Specifically, those who want to go back to school but have not returned identify work commitments (53 percent), care of children (21 percent) and care of other family members (11 percent) as responsibilities that prevent them from pursuing education.

While lack of time is commonly cited as an obstacle, these adults were also surveyed about how they actually use their free time on a week-to-week basis. On average per week, working adults spend time with family (9.4 hours), exercising (4.4 hours) and with friends (2.6 hours), but they also spent 12.2 hours watching television, 4.9 hours on social media, 2.6 hours playing video games and 2.3 hours shopping.

All these activities together account for 5.51 hours per day of free time, while the average time spent on formal education is just under eight minutes per day, despite 72 percent saying that achieving the next level of education would impact their overall career satisfaction.

“Working adults have much busier lives than the ‘traditional’ college student,” said Peter Cohen, University of Phoenix president. “That means they need much more flexible options than have generally been offered in higher education. Fortunately, more schools are beginning to learn what University of Phoenix realized back when we were founded—working adults need education tailored to fit in with families and jobs and their already-busy lives. University of Phoenix has always been focused on serving these students who were once overlooked and underserved by traditional higher education, and we’ve been excited to see other institutions following our lead in developing online programs and unique offers for working adults.”

Other key findings include:

  • Working adults expect that pursuing education would require 13.4 hours per week, on average
  • 19 percent of working adults are given professional development resources as a benefit at work
  • 33 percent expect to increase their wages by more than $15,000 by pursuing additional education and earning the next highest degree.
  • 60 percent expect that continuing education would cost less than $25,000
  • Among those who do not have plans to pursue further education, 46 percent see no benefit to a higher level of degree, 35 percent are concerned they cannot afford it, 29 percent cite a lack of time and 23 percent do not like school

For more information about this study and infographic, visit

About University of Phoenix®
University of Phoenix is innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit