50-50 Highlights: Colleges for Non-traditional Students

Senior man studing in libraryIn case you haven’t heard, most college students aren’t the traditional 18-year-olds, starting college full-time the fall after they graduate from high school. That’s because the term college students include both part-time and full-time as well as those attending community colleges, for-profit schools, and school that don’t offer degrees.

Ultimately, there really isn’t anything new about the situation. It seems to be reported as some sort of challenge to higher education but that challenge has been around for sometime.

Let’s go over some numbers for today’s college students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, if you only consider degree granting institutions, non-traditional students lose their majority and make up only 39.3% of all college students. If you just look at students attending four-year institutions, you’ll see that students under the age of 25 (traditional) make-up 61.3% of all undergraduates. And if you look at only full-time students, they account for 72.8% of undergraduates.

Still, that means that over a quarter of all full-time students are age 25 or older. And these non-traditional students will likely have different needs than your average 18-year-old. Yet whatever those differences are, they’ll still share the same goal–to graduate.

According to Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates, the average six-year graduation rate for full-time students 24 years-old and younger is 43.4%. For those who start their degree after age 24, the graduation rate is 35.9%. Clearly, there appears to be some advantages to starting earlier.

However, older students are more likely to graduate while going part-time than those age 24 and younger. The completion rate for older students (at any institution) was 27.5% compared to 9.6% for younger students.

For those looking for colleges for non-traditional students, the following table lists the 50-50 colleges where ten percent or more of the full-time undergraduates are 25 years-old or older. Unfortunately, there’s no way on knowing how many of these students are actually counted in the graduation rate since it doesn’t include students who have transferred or returned to school. It only counts first-time full-time undergraduates.

Yet it seems reasonable that colleges with a larger percentage of older students are more likely to provide services targeted for their concerns. As usual, the four-year rate is used for private colleges and the five-year rate for public universities.

50-50 Colleges with Highest Percentage of
Full-time Undergraduates Over Age 24
(download PDF version for a limited time)

% Full-
age 25
& above
6 yr Grad
4/5 yr
Everglades UniversityPrivateFL1184866258
Indiana Wesleyan UniversityPrivateIN9581676555
Keiser University-Ft LauderdalePrivateFL12007635759
Gwynedd Mercy UniversityPrivatePA1851406650
The Evergreen State CollegePublicWA3766335753
Mercy College of OhioPrivateOH501316859
Guilford CollegePrivateNC1928305749
Centenary CollegePrivateNJ1610295756
Arizona State University-PolytechnicPublicAZ2789285551
Arizona State University-WestPublicAZ2694265550
Roberts Wesleyan CollegePrivateNY1225266153
Lancaster Bible CollegePrivatePA814257054
Salem CollegePrivateNC827256461
Union UniversityPrivateTN2175226451
University of UtahPublicUT17319226049
University of Washington-Bothell CampusPublicWA3432226861
Eastern UniversityPrivatePA2076215549
Eastern Mennonite UniversityPrivateVA1122206450
College of Our Lady of the ElmsPrivateMA1006196857
Moody Bible InstitutePrivateIL2413198465
Mount Vernon Nazarene UniversityPrivateOH1450196149
The College of Saint ScholasticaPrivateMN2423196859
California Maritime AcademyPublicCA1008185957
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State DuboisPublicPA557185650
University of New Hampshire at ManchesterPublicNH599184256
John Brown UniversityPrivateAR1571176555
Mount Mercy UniversityPrivateIA882177366
The University of Texas at DallasPublicTX10635176359
Central Washington UniversityPublicWA8996165150
Mills CollegePrivateCA922166153
Rutgers University-NewarkPublicNJ5827166860
Cedar Crest CollegePrivatePA640156050
The Sage CollegesPrivateNY1446145852
Trinity Christian CollegePrivateIL1106145849
University of North Carolina at AshevillePublicNC3129146056
Columbia International UniversityPrivateSC511136552
George Mason UniversityPublicVA17261136761
Oklahoma City UniversityPrivateOK1754136149
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State HarrisburgPublicPA3121136156
The New SchoolPrivateNY5878136350
California University of PennsylvaniaPublicPA5649125050
Clarke UniversityPrivateIA877127059
Geneva CollegePrivatePA1475126759
Milligan CollegePrivateTN884125252
Oklahoma Wesleyan UniversityPrivateOK571125750
The Richard Stockton College of New JerseyPublicNJ6953126561
University of North Carolina at GreensboroPublicNC12469125550
Arizona State University-TempePublicAZ34989115955
Asbury UniversityPrivateKY1326116456
DeSales UniversityPrivatePA1836117063
Eckerd CollegePrivateFL1947116659
Missouri State University-SpringfieldPublicMO13805115350
Mount St Mary's CollegePrivateCA2092116452
Oregon State UniversityPublicOR18484116155
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New KensingtonPublicPA524115451
Rollins CollegePrivateFL2366116761
Saint Joseph's College-New YorkPrivateNY3591117256
University of Central FloridaPublicFL36229116761
University of Central MissouriPublicMO8290115450
Washington State UniversityPublicWA20312116562
Adelphi UniversityPrivateNY4531106353
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health SciencesPrivateNY1059107272
Concordia University-IrvinePrivateCA1746106354
Hollins UniversityPrivateVA561106056
Simpson CollegePrivateIA1486106555
Texas State UniversityPublicTX25683105751
University of Maryland-Baltimore CountyPublicMD9508106559
University of North Carolina WilmingtonPublicNC11408107168

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