Although many enroll for college immediately after high school, a significant number of non-traditional students enroll in their late 20s, 30s, and beyond.
Students of all Ages are Recognizing the Benefits of College
College is a significant commitment, and many people wonder if they are ready for college. Not everyone enrolls in college immediately after high school, but more and more high school graduates are enrolling right away.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the rate of high school graduates who enrolled in college immediately after graduation was 49 percent in 1972 and rose steadily to 67 percent by 1997. Since then, the rate of immediate college enrollment has fluctuated between 62 and 69 percent.
The National Center for Education Statistics defines “immediate college enrollment rate” as “the percentage of all high school completers ages 16-24 who enroll in college (2- or 4-year) in the fall immediately after high school.”
It’s Never too Late for College
Although many high school graduates enter college right away, the number of adult students is increasing. In fact, many students enter college in their mid-to-late 20s, and students can often be 35 years or older. These older students are often referred to as “non-traditional students.”
Consider that according to the National Center for Education Statistics the breakdown for adult enrollment in degree-granting institutions by age was the following:
- 22 to 24 years old: 17.6 percent
- 25 to 29 years old: 13.6 percent
- 30 to 34 years old: 7.7 percent
- 35 years old and over: 17.7 percent
Although the seemingly high cost of tuition can be a deterrent for some, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that more than 65 percent of all undergraduates were the recipient of some type of financial aid.