The typical college student isn’t typical, reports NPR in an interview with Kathryn McCormick, a single mother, full-time waitress and student in the Physician’s Assistant program at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida.
“Sleep is sometimes not an option,” McCormick tells host Neal Conan. She tried college several times in the past 13 years. Now she’s convinced she needs an education to earn a decent living.
Conan asks Education Sector‘s Kevin Carey if Kat McCormick is “our typical college student” today.
CAREY: There are many, many Kat McCormicks in America today. We see students all over the country, particular with a 10 percent unemployment rate, a lot of people going back to college to get credentials to upgrade their skills to be more competitive in the job market. A lot of students who don’t go directly from high school to college, who live their lives for a while, who start families, who have jobs and then eventually decide they need that credential in order to get a good job.
. . . If you go back to the early 1970s, less than half of all students who graduated from high school went on to college. Today, it’s over three-quarters. And the reasons are pretty clear. The gap in earnings between people who have a college degree and people who don’t have one has widened substantially over time.
Some 73 percent of undergraduates don’t fit the stereotype of the full-time student just out of high school, reports the National Center for Education Statistics.