The "Non-Traditional" Student; Single Mothers Returning to College

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Northern Kentucky University
"What comes to mind when you think of a “non- traditional” college student? You may have thought of a student over the age of 25, an online student, or a student working full time while taking their courses. Non- traditional students fall into many categories which means they all have their own particular needs. Many universes offer services for non-traditional students but not all of these students receive the same benefit from these resources. A majority of non-traditional college students are single mothers returning to finish their degree. As a single mother, adding a college schedule to their daily lives can put a toll on these women physically, emotionally, and financially. I will discuss a complex problem that has arisen in contemporary society and is worthy of more aggressive attention by the public, policymakers, and government. Single mothers returning to college are unique, non-traditional students working full or part time to care for their families so campuses should be encouraging, offer specialized financial support, and provide personal services equal to the increasing cost of college tuition. My research of these women of childbearing age 25 – 35, reveals they are returning to college only to discover that many of their needs are left unserved or completely unmet. Traditional campuses focus on the traditional student such as those coming directly from high school focusing on everything from dormitories to sororities. Single fathers and married adults with and without children don’t face the same pressure when returning to school. Single mothers need financial services, counseling and childcare during hours that fit their schedules as well as private spaces for personal needs such as nursing. As a single mother, making sure the needs of their family are met while returning to college can take a toll on these women's health and mental wellbeing because anxiety, fear of failure and exhaustion are often a problem. A campus that has a special outreach program for single mothers would provide the safety net these women need and encourage them to pursue completion of their secondary education."
2020 Celebration of Student Research and Creativity presentation
Single mothers, College student parents, Adult college students Services for