Who are Today’s Students?

Today’s students come from all walks of life, bringing unique strengths and needs. They are parents, working adults, veterans, online students and first-generation college-goers, following new pathways through higher education. They need a system that is flexible, affordable, and responsive to their needs. But we still rely on policies designed for yesterday’s students and the last century’s economy.

Quick Facts on Today’s Students

Get up to speed on who today’s students really are with these need-to-know data points.

Adult Learners:

37%

of today’s students are older than 25.

Part-Time Students:

40%

of students are part-time.

First-Generation Students:

46%

of undergraduates are the first in their families to attend college.

Low-Income Students:

31%

are at or below the federal poverty level.

Independent Students:

49%

of students are financially independent.

Student Parents:

24%

of students are raising children while studying.

Students of Color: Between 1996 and 2020,

African-American enrollment
grew by

72%

and Hispanic enrollment
grew by

240%

Working Students:

.

64%

of students work while in college.

Veterans:

More than

340K

post-9/11 veterans have used G.I. Bill benefits to complete their degrees.

Commuters:

Only

13%

of students live on campus.

Paths Through College

The Traditional Path through College

The traditional path to college was straightforward and linear: a student would finish high school and immediately start studying at a four-year college or trade school, enter the workforce or join the military.

Today’s Students, New Pathways

Instead of going to, and finishing, college directly after high school, many of today’s students are returning to get additional education and training while working and raising families or changing careers.

Resources

  • resource

    Prioritizing Today’s Students in the Lame Duck Congress

    Nov 25, 2020 |

    On Wednesday, November 25, 2020, The Today's Students Coalition urged Congress to act to support today's students during the lame duck session. Read the full l…

  • resource

    Today’s Students + Emergency Aid

    Nov 12, 2020 |

    As new cases of COVID-19 exposure and infection rise every day, many of the nation’s institutions of higher education are sending students home from campus and…

  • resource

    The Today’s Students Coalition Endorses the Emergency Grant Aid for College Students Act

    Oct 29, 2020 |

    On Thursday, October 29, 2020, the Today’s Students Coalition and 23 of its members endorsed the Emergency Grant Aid for College Students Act, which would crea…

  • resource

    Today’s Students Coalition Webinar Town Hall

    Jul 20, 2020 |

    On Monday, July 20, the Today's Students Coalition hosted a webinar town hall featuring five students and moderated by NPR's Elissa Nadworny. The student panel…

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