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Challenges And Drawbacks Of Non Traditional Students

3079 words - 12 pages

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Running Head: DEVELOPING EARLY LITERACYChallenges and Drawbacks of Non Traditional StudentsChallenges and Drawbacks of Non Traditional StudentsIntroductionThere has been a large growth in non-traditional student higher education enrollment in general over the past 25 years. By the term non-traditional, most researchers refer to a variety of demographic and social characteristics to distinguish this population from the more traditional higher education students that have typically populated higher education campuses.These non-traditional students continue to be the fastest growing segment of higher education in America today. With this increasing non-traditional student population, the subject of nontraditional students will only become more important in the upcoming years (Southerland, 2006). But while there is a great influx of non-traditional students on the college campus, much of the higher education system is regrettably still not fully developing this non-traditional population (Beicastro & Purslow, 2006, p. 2). Unfortunately as well, there is still relatively little actual academic research on nontraditional students on college campuses (Kortesoja, 2005).The growth in the non-traditional undergraduate population is also found in the graduate school population in the United States. It is estimated that 50% of all graduate students are older than age 30 years (United States Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, 1998, p. 55). Graduate schools are now facing the same issues as the undergraduate programs in working with these typically older students. Regrettably, there is very little research on non-traditional graduate students either (Kasworm et al., 2000, p. 453).Operational DefinitionAccording to the United States Department of Education, a non- traditional higher education student is a student who has one of the following characteristics: delays enrollment, attends part-time for at least part of the academic year, works full-time while enrolled, is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid, has dependents other than a spouse, is a single parent, or does not have a high school diploma. According to information from the Department of Education for the year 2000, 73% of all higher education students in the United States have at least one of these non-traditional characteristics. (United States Department of Education National Center for Educational Statistics, 2002, p. 25). When only focused on the characteristic of age, it is currently estimated that as many as 45% of college students are older than age 25 years (Beicastro & Purslow, 2006, p. 2).Talking about theological education, the same non-traditional student trends are also found in American theological education. The typical seminary student of the 21st century is very different from the seminary student of a generation ago. Numerous studies have shown that entering seminary students are...

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