What Is A Non-Traditional Student?

College Student Using CatalogueCollege campuses are no longer populated with a singular part of American population. Increasing numbers of people are going back to school after military service, raising a family or high school mistakes. The years they took off from school and the experience they gained makes them a non-traditional student. This status is applied liberally to any student who is not straight from high school to a four year institution. However, there are specific criteria to fit the non-traditional student status. Only one of criterion must be met for non-traditional status to be applied.

A Student who enrolled in college outside of the year they graduated high school is considered non-traditional. The amount of time outside of high school does not matter.

Amount of School
Attending college classes on a part-time basis during the academic year qualifies as non-traditional. It is possible to attend full time for part of the year and part time for the rest without the non-traditional status changing.

Students holding a job that requires 35 hours or more of their time, per week while still attending college are non-traditional students. Benefits from the job do not affect the non-traditional status.

Financial Independence
If a person claims financial independence when applying for financial aid, they are a non-traditional student.

Any person, beyond a spouse, who is dependent on the student, qualifies the student as non-traditional. This can apply to children, parents or other persons.

A single parent supporting a child for more the half of their needs is a non-traditional student. Divorced, unmarried and married but separated all qualify the single parent criterion. The important part is the support of more then half the child’s needs.

High School Education
Attending college with a GED, other high school completion certificate or without high school completion is a non-traditional student.

The National center for Education Statistics used this list to determine that over 70% of students attending college are non-traditional students. This staggering amount should refocus the college environment. However, so many are unaware that college is no longer a direct ride form high school to adulthood. It has become a necessity for survival in a tough economy. Legislation, financial aid and politics all stand in the way of any student’s degree, alongside the normal class requirements. Recognizing the need of non-traditional students to receive a non-traditional college education is step toward a brighter future for America.

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