Student feedback:

I was so hoping that the Parent Pop Quiz was aimed at the non traditional students who ARE parents. I think that the Student Health newsletter could be improved and reach a much wider audience if it included bits for the non-traditional and foreign students as well.” —Carla T., University of Kansas, Lawrence

This is great feedback. We’re always looking for ways to make our content more applicable to a broader range of students. An increasing number of current college students in the US are considered nontraditional and that population will continue to grow through 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (2011). Rates of enrollment for those aged 25–34 are expected to grow by 28 percent over the next four years, according to statistics from the US Department of Education.

So what is a nontraditional student? And how do we make sure that this magazine is more meaningful for them?

The definition of a nontraditional student is unclear and debated among professionals. We use the definition agreed upon by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance in Pathways to success: A report to the US Congress and Secretary of Education (2012). Their definition refers to nontraditional students as those who fall outside of the “traditional student template, which generally refers to an 18–24 year-old full-time college student.”

This includes:

  • First-generation college students
  • Any student over the age of 24
  • Veterans
  • Part-time students
  • Students working full-time
  • Students who are parents

Our Nontraditional edition is meant for these students.

As you can see, there is a wide range of students who fall into this category, from adults returning to college after time away to graduate students juggling their studies with full-time jobs. We’re working on making this edition even stronger in the upcoming year by featuring more articles aimed at these populations, including topics such as work-life balance and the art of saying no.

Look out for an article in September 2015 that gives a voice to some of these perspectives: first-generation community college students and international graduate students.

Are you a nontraditional student or do you work with nontraditional students? What issues are most important? How can we cover them? Tell us in the comments section, on Facebook, or Twitter @SH_101.


Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. (February 2012). Pathways to success: Integrating learning with life and work to increase national college competition. Washington DC. Retrieved from

Hussar, W. J., & Bailey, T. M. (March 2011). Projections of education statistics to 2019. International Center for Education Statistics. US Department of Education. Retrieved from

Johnson, J. (2013, September 14). Today’s typical college students often juggle work, children, and bills with coursework. The Washington Post. Retrieved from