Posted at 2:00 PM on June, 6 2016
Anyone who started college right after high school as a fulltime student is considered a traditional college student. Everyone else is considered a non-traditional college student. Today, a vast majority of college students are non-traditional students. Typically, non-traditional students tend to be atleast a little (or more) older than their traditional counterparts. They also tend to have additional responsibilities other than just attending college. They also have many more challenges to overcome than the traditional college students. Foremost of these challenges is the amount of student loan accrued by the non-traditional college students. Many of them feel forced to continue getting the financial aid/ loans, just so that they can meet the living expenses for themselves and their families.
Now let’s look at some well-documented non-traditional students. Many of these students were among the top finalists in the “Take America to College” program which was created by ‘USA Today’ in 2010. Each of the candidates has very different circumstances but the two common things among them is their drive to succeed, along with the extreme financial hardships they have had to endure. Going over their lives will hopefully show you that, you too can get your college degree under any circumstances. Also, by looking at their financial issues and prospective solutions, I hope to show you how you can more easily address and overcome a lot of your financial issues relating to college. Now, let’s look into the lives of the students themselves.
In 2010, Kathryn McCormick was a single mom with 2 young kids, one of whom was a toddler at the time. She got married very early and upon her eagerness to join her spouse who was in the army, she dropped out of college. Years later, as a single mom, she underwent numerous challenges to complete her associate’s degree at Valencia Community College in Orlando.
Her day normally started very early. She would drop off her toddler at the daycare at 6am, before starting her college classes from 7am to noon. Then she worked for a minimum wage as a waitress until evening. After this, she would pick up her kids, then make dinner and then get them ready for bed. Finally around 8pm, she found a few hours to study for college. Money was always very tight for her. Sometimes one of her kids would get sick around the same time when she had a term paper due, or a test to take. This put even more time-crunch on her study time than usual.
In addition to her fulltime job, she took out about $15,000 every year in student loans. This funded not only her college tuition but also enabled her to meet the living expenses for herself and her two young children. By 2010, while still working on her associate’s degree, she had already accumulated about $70,000 in student loans. Despite these almost impossible odds, her dream of providing a better future for her kids helped her to keep going.
There are thousands of non-traditional students in similar or other circumstances who are struggling to complete college. Another single mother Carolyn Sealy started college when her son was 2 months old. She underwent numerous hardships including living in a shelter and then living in a bad neighborhood. With the responsibilities of being a single parent with not even enough money for childcare, it took her about 9 years to complete her Associates degree.
Another student Shane Burrows had to quit college early due to financial difficulties. Then he took a job and 5 years later, he returned to college for a degree in Music. With no family support, he accumulated credit card debt and also had bad credit. One of the key issues he was facing is that the number of classes at his community college was cancelled due to budget cuts. So it was taking him longer to complete courses as he had to wait his turn as most classes filled up easily. Meanwhile, he continued to accumulate debt to just meet his living expenses. The list goes on and on. There are grandfathers with fulltime jobs who desperately need a college degree for their career. There are other adults in their 20’s and 30’s with no grim future unless they can complete college.
There are some things in life which we have to learn ourselves, either the easy way or many times unfortunately, the hard way. But there are many other things where some guidance and assistance can make a huge positive difference. We at CollegeOnomics want to provide this guidance and assistance, for the benefit of all college students. Most of the students we’ve listed here have started with community college, where the fees structure is a lot lower. But where students such as Kat McCormick are getting drained financially is with meeting their living expenses. It often takes students many, many years to even complete an associate’s degree.
Caroyn Sealy took about 9 years to complete her associate’s degree. What if she had taken other low-cost online courses to finish her degree sooner? She could have gained additional college credits by completing some CLEP/ DSST/ ACP exams. These are quite inexpensive and can be completed in just a few months. Perhaps Carolyn might have taken too many core courses, far beyond what would be need for completing an associate’s degree.
Perhaps if Shane Burrows had spent his time completing many inexpensive online college courses, then he would have completed college much sooner. Maybe Shane had prior college credits which he could have transferred to his community college, so as to complete his degree sooner! As Shane mentioned earlier, the availability of new classes at his community college were his main detriment to faster college completion.
We at CollegeOnomics will assist students like you to only take the needed courses, and not have to waste time taking additional, unwanted courses. Living expenses seem to make up the bulk of the expenses that put a strain on the student’s finances. By drastically reducing the time it takes to complete your college degree (Associates/ Bachelors), we at CollegeOnomics can get you to complete college sooner. This way, instead of taking student loans for meeting your living expenses, as a college graduate, you can use your salary/ monthly paycheck to meet the living expenses for you and your family a whole lot sooner!