Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Non-Traditional Students are in the Majority

In a 1996 study, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) included anyone who satisfies at least one of the following as a non-traditional student:
  • Delays enrollment (does not enter postsecondary education in the same calendar year that he or she finished high school);
  • Attends part time for at least part of the academic year;
  • Works full time (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled;
  • Is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid;
  • Has dependents other than a spouse (usually children, but sometimes others);
  • Is a single parent (either not married or married but separated and has dependents);
  • Does not have a high school diploma (completed high school with a GED or other high school completion certificate or did not finish high school).
By this standard, the NCES determined that 73% of all undergraduates in 1999-2000 could be considered non-traditional, therefore comprising the vast majority of total undergraduate students in the United States, and representing the newly "typical" undergraduate.

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