Nontraditional College Students Have Been the Majority for a Long Time

Tim Goral's picture
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

According to a new article in the Wall Street Journal, “‘Non-Traditional’ Students Are Majority on College Campuses.” As Ben Casselman puts it:
29%:The share of college undergraduates who are traditional students. The word “college” tends to call to mind images of fresh-faced young students studying, living and, yes, partying on or near leafy suburban campuses. But that picture only describes a small fraction of the nation’s 18 million undergraduates—even though such students dominate the public debate over the value of a college education.

Really? Because we actually see this “non-traditional students are new majority” story like every year.

While there are certainly more nontraditional college students now than in past years, a trend likely spurred by the proliferation of for-profit schools and the country’s economic decline, this is actually not news.

While the definition of a nontraditional student is a little imprecise, adult students have been the majority of college students in America since the Reagan administration.

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