Being a nontraditional student is the new normal. 73% of current college students are “nontraditional” meaning they either delayed entry into college, have dependents, are single parents, are employed full-time, are financially independent, attend school part time, or do not have a high school diploma. 38% of college students nationwide are 25 years or older.
By 2025, 55% of the jobs available in Tennessee will require a postsecondary credential, and currently only 33% of Tennesseans qualify. Time is running out for regions relying solely on a K-12 pipeline, and not all cities are magnets for recent college grads. Adults who return to college and earn a meaningful credential immediately infuse talent, skills, and expertise into their regional workforce.
There are over 900,000 Tennesseans with some college credit but no degree. Many stopped out because of difficulties balancing family and life issues with school, finances, or debt. Now, they cannot advance their career because they do not have the right credential. Many of those students want to go back to college to improve their job options, feel a sense of personal pride, and become a role model for their family.
Increasing the number of adults with degrees has a generational multiplier effect: When an adult earns a degree the youth in their household are three times more likely to finish high school, go to college, and earn a degree themselves.