Nontraditional Undergraduates / Highlights


This report uses data from the three administrations of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study conducted in 1986-87, 1989-90, and 1992-93 (NPSAS:87, NPSAS:90, and NPSAS:93) to examine enrollment trends of nontraditional students. It then uses data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS:90/94) longitudinal survey to explore the persistence and attainment of nontraditional students who first began their postsecondary education in 1989-90.

A nontraditional student was identified by the presence of one or more of the following seven characteristics: delayed enrollment into postsecondary education, attended part time, financially independent, worked full time while enrolled, had dependents other than a spouse, was a single parent, or did not obtain a standard high school diploma.

A nontraditional student was further characterized as minimally nontraditional (one characteristic), moderately nontraditional (2 or 3 characteristics), or highly nontraditional (4 or more characteristics). The following are selected findings from the study.

Enrollment Trends

Persistence and Attainment of Nontraditional Students

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