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Campus Women Lead

Winter 2012

Volume 40
Number 3

Access and Success for Nontraditional Students


Director's Outlook

From Where I Sit

Featured Topic

In Brief

Campus Women Lead

Global Perspectives

Data Connection



For Your Bookshelf

About This Issue

Featured Topics

Susan Marine
Susan Marine

Bridges to a Brighter Future: Support Programs for Nontraditional Women in Postsecondary Education
By Susan Marine, assistant professor of higher education, Merrimack College

Even as women lag behind men in enjoying the benefits of the United States’ economic recovery (Savard 2012), some good news is emerging: programs for women who do not fit traditional (and outdated) conceptions of the “average college student” are flourishing. Many who were previously not well-served by higher education are thus re-engaging with the academy in adulthood. Loosely defined, these “nontraditional” college students are twenty-five years of age or older and have already entered the work force. Many women fitting this definition are parents, whether single or partnered. Comprising approximately 40 percent of the current enrolled US student population and 33 percent of undergraduates, “nontrads” (as they are sometimes called) are both a significant presence and a formidable market force in twenty-first-century higher education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, their numbers are projected to increase even more in the next decade, and their rate of growth has already surpassed that of traditional-aged students (NCES 2011). While every nontrad student’s path is uniquely hewn, research indicates that women entering college in adulthood must often negotiate distinctly gendered factors—such as caretaker responsibilities and associated gender role expectations—that affect the likelihood of persistence to degree completion (Deutsch and Schmertz 2010).


Florence Hamrick Corey Rumann
Florence A. Hamrick
Corey B. Rumann

Addressing the Needs of Women Servicemembers and Veterans in Higher Education
By Florence A. Hamrick, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Rutgers University, and Corey B. Rumann, assistant professor in the Department of Collaborative Support and Intervention at the University of West Georgia

Since President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, successive GI Bill programs have enabled veterans and servicemembers to pursue higher education and vocational training that might otherwise have been unaffordable to them. At the same time, the US military has become increasingly diverse since 1948, when President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981 to end racial segregation in the military. The most recent generation of veterans and servicemembers earning educational benefits and pursuing postsecondary education is the most diverse to date. Women comprise a growing share of this group, having expanded from 1 percent of active duty military in 1964 to approximately 15 percent at present (Government Accountability Office 2005). As colleges and universities create or augment campus services for military students and students formerly in the military, attention to serving women must be a critical element of their efforts.


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