Non-Traditional Students

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What is a non-traditional student?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there is no real definition. In general, a student who meets the following criteria is generally considered non-traditional:

Delays enrollment (does not enter post-secondary education in the same calendar year that he or she finished high school);

  • Attends part time for at least part of the academic year;
  • Works full time (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled;
  • Is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid;
  • Has dependents other than a spouse (usually children, but sometimes others);
  • Is a single parent (either not married or married but separated and has dependents); or

Does not have a high school diploma (completed high school with a GED or other high school completion certificate, or did not finish high school).

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