Many adult students face obstacles that increase the difficulty of attaining their degree. Advocating for oneself, or nontraditional students in general, must address specific needs. Find a cause meaningful to you, and future adult students, that will have a positive impact on collective academic success. Seek out allies and people of influence. Raise your voice!
Today's Nontraditional Student: Challenges to Academic Success and Degree Completion
Create Alliances: You may want to begin by exploring the various programs our state supports to encourage higher education.
Complete College America "At CCA, we're leveraging our Alliance and implementing strategies around the country to close achievement gaps, boost graduation rates and ensure every student has the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
Transfer Credit Policy
- New Jersey Transfer Policy for Community College Students
The State of New Jersey has an agreement between community colleges and 4 year Universities to accept 60 credits and waive General Education requirements upon completion of an Associates of Arts or Associates of Science.
- Transfer Credit Deficiencies
The biggest gaps in awarding transfer credits affect out-of-state, military, and technical credits. The denial of transfer credits leads to additional semesters spent in college and increased debt for adult students. Both results contribute to a higher risk of withdrawal from college for nontraditional students. Wider acceptance of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credits would also benefit nontraditional students when they are able to receive credit for expertise outside of traditional academic criteria.
- Transfer Policy Advocates
Research and policy suggestions that could save students time and money are available from from various organizations. Please visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for an example of how policy advocacy for nontraditional students can make a difference!
American Council on Education - Innovative Initiative Enabled by $1.86 Million Gates Foundation Grant
- Preadmission Evaluations
Transfer students often need an assessment of their credits prior to enrollment to decide which program would enable them to graduate in less time and at a lower cost. Most colleges do not have the staff to complete these preadmission evaluations that are essential for adult students to make the best decision for their academic success and financial health.
- Course Options
Students need schedules that accommodate their busy lives. Online, hybrid, evening, weekend and accelerated courses can enable them to complete their degree.
- Course Scheduling Strategies
- Flexible Work Schedules
Advocate with employers to receive a more flexible schedule. A more educated workforce is in their best interests and immediately beneficial to their company.
- Tuition Remission
Often, nontraditional students will need to use services and resources outside of traditional work hours. Advocating for more flexible hours of available services is essential to strengthening the support system student need to perform well academically and receive administrative assistance.
Academic Support at Rutgers
Advising for Nontraditional Rutgers Students - University College
- Academic Assistance
Rutgers Learning Resource Center
- Food Pantry
Rutgers Task Force on Student Aid:
"Rutgers should continue raising awareness about food insecurity and of the various services available to students, while working to eliminate its stigmas on campus, the report stated.
It can also extend pantry hours and include weekends to increase access, explore options for the consistent funding of pantries and provide additional emergency funds from its budgets during the yearly planning to match campus needs, according to the report."
Balancing the cost of housing and an undergraduate education is one of the principle challenges for nontraditional students. Rutgers students can live in on-campus family housing at a variety of locations including Johnson, Marvin, and Nichols Residence Halls. There are approximately 100 available units that accommodate families. There is an application process and if units fill-up, students will be placed on a waitlist. Off-campus housing is also available through our partnership with Places4Students.
Students without stable, affordable housing are at risk of leaving college without completing their degree.
- Nontraditional Women
Douglass recognizes that mature women students require different kinds of support and guidance than traditional aged students. We encourage you to join the Bunting community of nontraditional women!
- Rutgers Students with Children
Student parents have increased obstacles to completing their undergraduate degree. We encourage you to explore the resources on the SWC website and connect with other parents facing similar challenges.
- Child Care Policies for Student Parents
The National Women's Law Center advocates for policies that affect women. Their research enumerates the many benefits of providing child care assistance as a means to facilitate acquiring a college degree.