Success for Adult StudentsLooking at the demographics of today’s student body, nontraditional is the new traditional. How can public universities best serve today’s older student population?
News stories just before Labor Day always capture the back- to-college ritual of young first-year students moving in a frenzy into dorms. There’s something comfortable and familiar in those accounts. Trouble is, they’re not a very accurate depiction of college life today.
As everyone who helps lead a university knows, the stereotypical student is but a sliver of today’s college- going population. Data reported by the consulting firm Stamats suggests that as few as 16 percent of college students today fit the so-called traditional mold: 18- to 22-years-old, financially dependent on parents, in college full time, living on campus.
The National Center for Education Statistics defines nontraditional students as meeting one of seven characteristics: delayed enrollment into postsecondary education; attends college part-time; works full time; is financially independent for financial aid purposes; has dependents other than a spouse; is a single parent; or does not have a high school diploma. Those criteria fit a wide swath of today’s college students.
Standing on Tradition:On-Campus Culture Thrives Despite Non-Traditional Trends
Once upon a time, college was a sequestered sort of experience. The
ivory tower was anything but a disparaging term, and the elite of
society went off unapologetically, gathering together to consider lofty
ideals and ponder great thoughts in a heady and exclusive fraternity of
Today, college campuses go to great lengths to portray
themselves as anything but elite. They strive to be inclusive and
diverse, reach out to first generation students, and design programs
that intentionally immerse students in “real world” experience, rather
than protect them from the din of uneducated rabble.
established as the new approach to higher education has become, a
healthy remnant of old-school collegial culture persists. It may not be
as cloistered as it once was, but an on-campus concentration of young
scholars learning and living together—the traditional undergraduate
experience—remains popular and, some say, it is still the most effective
approach to higher learning.
Highlighting the Needs of Veteran Students on College and University CampusesA Look at the Current Climate and Tomorrow’s Goals for Veterans on Campus
Colleges and universities are recognizing and prioritizing the
specific needs of veteran students on college and university campuses,
and meeting these demands in a way that respects the challenges and
barriers veteran students face as non-traditional learners. Today’s
veteran students are aided in completing higher education by the biggest
investment in veterans education since the original GI Bill, the
Post-9/11 GI Bill. The core Post- 9/11 benefit pays for up to the
highest amount of in-state undergraduate tuition and fees at a public
educational institution in the state depending on a veteran student’s
eligibility. Other associated benefits for eligible students include
housing and book stipends. The optional Yellow Ribbon Program allows
institutions to contribute toward veteran students’ tuition and fee
costs that are higher than the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit (such as
out-of-state charges); the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs then
matches that contribution. “Given the generous nature of the Post-9/11
GI Bill, veterans now have the opportunity to attend almost any
institution to which they can gain admittance,” says Ted Timmerman,
associate director of the Office of Veterans Programs at Penn State
Presidents & Practices:Litigation Mitigation
Early in my career, I served as the general counsel to a
distinguished and principled president. During a particularly
frustrating moment when we could have settled a clearly frivolous
lawsuit for a nominal amount, the president recited the famous misquote
from the Quasi War: “Millions for defense, sir, but not one cent for
tribute.” The result? Nine years and three lawsuits later, we
successfully closed the dispute with the plaintiff. I doubt we spent
millions (at that time the attorney general represented us at no cost),
but in terms of time, negative publicity and stress, we experienced the
agony of litigation.
Regardless of whether you are a plaintiff or a
defendant, litigation is agony. The only real winners are the lawyers,
who are compensated based on their time or on a contingency fee basis.
Those of you who have been fortunate enough to avoid litigation may be
unaware of the potential effects of lawsuits upon staff morale; the time
commitment required to respond to discovery requests and depositions,
as well as attending hearings and a trial; the harassment of being cross
examined by a repugnant opposing counsel; and the stress of worrying
about whether the judge and jury will understand the case and decide in
the college/university’s favor. Consider yourself fortunate if you have
never experienced the heart- wrenching moment just before a jury returns
Here are 10 tips to help you avoid experiencing litigation.
Endsights:For Economic Development, Higher Ed Must Be Open for Business
Colleges and universities typically have arm’s-length relationships
with businesses and industries. Because of this, ideas and solutions
generated by faculty experts and researchers sometimes
find their way
to the marketplace, but sometimes not—depending too often on what my
friends in mathematics might call randomness.
But today, the budget
realities of our institutions of higher education and the economic
slumps felt by many regions of the country lead some to argue for a new,
hands-on model of collaboration between higher education and
business/industry. Higher ed must be open for business.