LEADING Strategies

In Their Own Words: What Nontraditional Students Need from For-Profit Schools

The number of nontraditional students in U.S. higher education is growing significantly, especially at for-profit postsecondary institutions given their shorter programs and career training. Yet these students have vastly different needs than their traditional-aged counterparts. A mixed-methods study of practical nursing students (n=36) enrolled in an eighteen-month face-to-face proprietary college in the northeastern United States (known in this study as Stethoscope School of Health) revealed a plethora of items and services that students identified as aids to their persistence and success. Childcare services, transitional courses both into and out of the program, transportation assistance, and the library being open late at night and on weekends were the top recommendations of study participants. This article explains the background and methodology of the study and focuses on what nontraditional students themselves state they need to persist and succeed at a proprietary postsecondary school.

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