Nontraditional / Older Adult Support Services briefing
What is an older adult student? Why are they nontraditional?
( University of Georgia — OWLs (Older Wiser Learners).
- Traditional Definition of a Nontraditional Older Adult Student:
25 years of age or older.
- New views: Some have argued that the categorization
of a student as an adult should be related to “life circumstances.” “People
who are independent from their parents, people who have competing responsibilities
such as work and family and community involvement—these people are
adult learners regardless of their age.” (Tate)
OSU undergraduate students who are 25 years of age or older — 1,746
OSU’s oldest undergraduate student — 78
Eleven percent of OSU undergraduate students are nontraditional older adults.
- Higher Education has had an adult student presence since the late 1800’s
- Increase in Older Adult Students.
From 1971 to 1991, adult students increased nationwide from 28% to 43%.
- Women make up a larger percentage of adult students than men.
From 1970 to 2000, female adult enrollments have increased by 59.2 percent
while male adult enrollments have increased by 40.8 percent.
Multiple Roles and Success
- Focus learning on skills and knowledge that are applicable to life circumstances
- Have a complex knowledge base due to age
- Are involved with families, communities, and careers
- Interact with faculty and peers without being ostracized
Functions of Nontraditional – Older Adult Support Services
- Information on financial aid and admissions programs that orient students
- Information on child care, housing, and community resources
- Resources to help develop familiarity with computers, math, writing, and
other student skills
Nontraditional – Older Adult Support Services Professionals
- No set standard.
- Commitment to diversity
- Orientation programs, Student Involvement, Deans of Graduate Schools
- Advising and counseling adult students individually and in groups.
- Advocating for adult students in policy-making and design of facilities
as well as the instructional program.
- Working with adult students to become involved in institutional activities.
- Arranging social activities for adult students.
- Working with faculty to understand the different approaches that may be
necessary when teaching adult students.
- Conducting research into the underrepresented groups and, once identified,
develop a range of proactive strategies that are welcoming, preparatory and
assist in promoting success.
- Promoting the advantages of education in the community.
- Organizing cultural orientation/preparatory programs that assist in the
transition into study.
- Negotiating appropriate space for observers of religious beliefs, as well
as rooms and support for clubs, societies, functions, and the like.
- Initiating learning programs that are culturally diverse and meaningful.
- Offering staff development workshops that improve awareness of nontraditional
student needs and requisites.
(INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS AND SERVICES PROFESSIONALS)
- By 2010, 38.2% of college students will be 25 years or older.
( National Center for Education Statistics)
Implications for Student Affairs Practitioners
- separate registration, advising, and orientation;
- greater availability of and access to parking;
- more evening and weekend course offerings;
- special assistance with financial aid and housing; and
- better preparation of faculty and staff to meet the needs of adult students.
- California State – Fullerton
- University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
- University of New England
- Penn State University
ACPA – Commission for Commuter Students & Adult Learners
Back to College: http://www.back2college.com
Penn State University – Center for Adult Learner Services: http://www.sa.psu.edu/cals/
Purdue University – SPAN Program: http://www.purdue.edu/odos/counsel/indexspanplan.htm
Iowa State University – Adult Student and Off Campus Resources: http://www.ocass.iastate.edu/resources.htm#ADULT
ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services Ann Arbor MI.
Benshoff, James M. – Lewis, Henry A.
National Academic Advising Association
The Role of Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education: A Practical Manual
For Developing, Implementing, and Assessing Student Affairs Programmes and
Services. International Association of Student Affairs and Services Professionals
Penn State Hendrick Conference on Best Practices in Adult Learning May 10,
2004 “Building an Adult Learning Focused Institution: Why and
How” Pamela Tate, President and CEO, Council for Adult and Experiential