Historically students over the age of 25 have been characterized as “non-traditional”. Today more than 47% of college students fall under this non-traditional classification in U.S. higher education. However, non-traditional students or adult learners might be better defined as students who often exhibit one or more of the following seven characteristics:

  • Have delayed enrollment into post-secondary education
  • Attend part-time
  • Are financially independent of parents
  • Work full-time while enrolled
  • Have dependents other than a spouse
  • Are a single parent
  • Lack a standard high school diploma

By using these criteria, the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that over 60 percent of students in higher education could be classified as non-traditional.

Enrollment of adult learners has grown in both absolute numbers and in proportion to total enrollment. With this increase, the college recognizes the need for a pro-active approach to meeting the non-traditional student’s individualistic and special needs. The unique circumstances of the non-traditional student requires that the college offer special support services in order for these students to achieve academic success and to enhance the students’ capacities to become self-directed, lifelong learners.

Students needing assistance should contact the advisor for non-traditional students, Miwa Edwards, by calling or emailing at (304)367-4208 or Miwa.Edwards@pierpoint.edu.

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