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:
- Delayed enrollment (past first fall after high school graduation)
- Attends part-time at least part of the academic year
- Works full time while enrolled (35+ hours)
- Is considered financially independent (under financial aid guidelines)
- Has dependents other than a spouse
- Is a single parent
- Does not have a high school diploma (may have GED)
- Marginally non-traditional: only one characteristic
- Moderately non-traditional: two or three characteristics
- 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!