DOE study: Nontraditional Undergraduates

by Marty Crossland on October 1, 2009

A very interesting study from the Department of Education was released in 2002, as Findings from the Condition of Education 2002 study.

In that study it was determined that almost three-quarters of all U.S. undergraduate students are in some way non-traditional. They identified seven characteristics that made students in some way non-traditional:

  1. Delayed enrollment (past first fall after high school graduation)
  2. Attends part-time at least part of the academic year
  3. Works full time while enrolled (35+ hours)
  4. Is considered financially independent (under financial aid guidelines)
  5. Has dependents other than a spouse
  6. Is a single parent
  7. Does not have a high school diploma (may have GED)

Classifications suggested:

  1. Marginally non-traditional: only one characteristic
  2. Moderately non-traditional: two or three characteristics
  3. Highly non-traditional: four or more characteristics

Moderately and Highly non-traditional students are more likely than other students to participate in distance education. Interesting reading!

Download the full report.

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