The new normal for college students

In Degrees of Difficulty, USA Today looks at unconventional college students — the ones who aren’t 18- to 22-year-olds living in a dorm and going to college full-time on their parents’ dime (and dollars). The unconventional is now the norm.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, about half of today’s students are financially independent; 49% are enrolled part-time; 38% work full time; 27% have dependents of their own. Almost half — 12 million — attend two-year community colleges rather than four-year schools.

And most students who start college don’t finish. Only 56% of students at four-year colleges complete a degree within six years, and just 20% of first-time students at public community colleges get a degree or certificate within three years.

The project includes video profiles of five students:

• Dennis Medina, a police officer and a night student at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston;

• Kathryn McCormick, a single mom who waitresses 35 hours a week and is enrolled at Valencia Community College in Orlando

• Shane Burrows, who works full-time as a sales assistant while studying at Sierra Community College in Rocklin, Calif.;

• Brandon Krapf, an Iraq war veteran studying at American University in Washington, D.C.;

• Charneé Ball, a Navy veteran, also at Valencia Community College in Orlando.

Only one quarter of college students fit the Joe College and Betty Coed model.


POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON May 25, 2010

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Chris

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