Neotraditional students in the 21st century
Decades of research related to the experience of postsecondary students who are adults, work full-time, or have other life roles have not led to agreement in the field regarding who is a “nontraditional” college student. This study leverages nationally representative data to illuminate shifts in this student population in the 21st century and builds a picture of their demographics, financial aid receipt, and academic experiences. Our results suggest that, in order to capture the diversity of the 21st century students and ubiquity of students with multiple life roles, we need to carefully define this student population; the use of the term “neotraditional” would better capture the central place of students with varying life circumstances in contemporary higher education. Our descriptive analyses illuminate the implications of different definitions of neotraditionality, the landscape of neotraditional student enrollment, differences in aid receipts, and changes among this population in the past two decades. We discuss the importance of how researchers, practitioners, and policymakers define this student population and the implications of such definitions for serving this population in higher education.
Nguyen, Tuan D. and Kramer, Jenna W.
"Constructing a clear definition of neotraditional students and illuminating their financial aid, academic, and non-academic experiences and outcomes in the 21st century,"
Journal of Student Financial Aid: Vol. 52
, Article 2.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jsfa/vol52/iss1/2