Nontraditional students come in many varieties, and the group is growing. Are you one?

A nontraditional student used to be a rarity. But no longer.

Photo credit: Michaelcardus on Flickr.


In a March 2012 article, Steven Bell, a librarian at Temple University, states that "Thirty-eight percent of those enrolled in higher education are over the age of 25 and 25 percent are over the age of 30. The share of all students who are over age 25 is projected to increase another twenty-three percent by 2019."

The number of non-traditional undergraduates is rising for many reasons. 

I believe those reasons include wanting to get a better job, raise family income, and change careers. Some nontraditional students have lost their jobs due to downsizing or the economy and are training for a second, or even third career.

More and more schools are catering to nontraditional students, who are often older and going back to school after a break. I have seen Nontraditional Student clubs, special advising, and more choices in class times in the last five years or so, and I believe this trend will gain traction in the years to come.

Schools are offering more financial aid for older students too. And younger students are generally starting to be more accepting of older students.

As the numbers of nontraditional students goes up, I believe that younger students will welcome them more and more into groups and clubs, which will increase retention for these students who need it the most.

I also believe that more online and face-to-face classes will be offered at more times all across the country, helping many nontraditional students with time constraints.

More dedicated advisors just for nontraditional students, more generalized majors, more financial help, and a more flexible attitude towards child care and assistance in making up classes will be prevalent in the future.

What thoughts do you have on being a nontraditional student today or helping them? Leave a comment today.

Thanks,

-Betsyanne
Former Nontraditional Student in Education at WKU
The Garden Spot, Kentucky

Sources:

Nontraditional Students are the New Majority

Financial Aid for Older and Nontraditional Students at the FinAid site

University using online classes, virtual library to cater to 'non-traditional' students

And here are more of my nontraditional student links:

The Nontrad site and blog

Join Nontrads on Facebook

Nontrads on Yahoo, and

Nontrads on Twitter