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Nontraditional Learners: An Untapped Source for College Graduates

Posted on 11/19/2013 by AcademyOne Insights

The national push for degree completion is driven primarily by workforce demand – the need for college-educated job applicants is rising faster than college students are graduating.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce estimates there will be 55 million U.S. job openings through 2020, 65 percent of which will require at least some postsecondary experience[i].  At our current completion rates, however, we will not be able to fill all of these positions.

So what can we do to resolve this challenge?

Improving support for nontraditional learners is a great place to start.  Nontraditional learners face more obstacles on the path to graduation than traditional students do, especially because our current higher education systems weren’t built to support them.  It was built to support students who enter college directly from high school, attend classes full-time and take four years to complete their degrees.  But these students are no longer the norm on campus.

Now, more than one third of all college students are over age 25[ii], one third will transfer at least once[iii] and over half will take longer than four years to earn a bachelors degree[iv].  Most students work while they’re enrolled – in fact, nearly twenty percent of them work full time[v].  Some have families and other life obligations.

And where, exactly, does AcademyOne come in?

AcademyOne is a leading developer of smart student systems, and we have extensive experience meeting the many diverse guidance and information needs of nontraditional learners.  Our solutions illuminate pathways that can shorten time to completion, save money and reduce the risk of stopping out early by guiding nontraditional learners past their challenges to achieve success.  Moreover, we provide institutions with powerful tools that enable them to serve this growing population of students quickly and more effectively.

See what we’re doing to improve the higher education experience by visiting our client success stories.  Then check out our services to find out how we make visions for new solutions come to life.



[i] Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020 (Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce)

[ii] Snapshot Report: Adult Learner Enrollment (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center)

[iii] Signature Report: Transfer & Mobility (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center)

[iv] Fast Facts: Time to a Degree (National Center for Education Statistics)

[v] School Enrollment and Work Status: 2011 (United States Census Bureau)

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