Special Challenges Posed by Delayed Entry College Students
The transition from high school to college requires many decisions on the part of students and their families. Should they attend college right after high school, or wait a year or even longer? - Ohio Board of Regents*
Delayed entry college students have many distinct and unique characteristics that set them apart from traditional freshmen including being older than the typical student, attending part-time, being independent of parents, working full time while being enrolled, having dependents, being a single parent, and often being a recipient of a GED or high school completion certificate.**
In August, ISSUES reported that new figures from the Ohio Board of Regents (2006 graduates) show Stark County nearly 6% above the state average in the percentage of high school graduates going directly on to college in Ohio. Stark County high schools graduated 4,305 students that year with 2,183 going on to colleges and universities in Ohio.***
Another 526 Stark high school graduates, ranging back to the class of 1960, also became first time freshmen. These delayed entry, or non-traditional, students represent 19% here and nearly 27% of all college freshmen in Ohio. Statewide, their numbers have increased by 14% since 1996.^
These students can represent an important addition to Stark's growing highly educated workforce. However, their unique characteristics also pose many challenges to educators and policy makers both here and statewide. While 80%^^ of all traditional students from Stark are still enrolled after the first year of college, persistence drops dramatically for delayed entry students as results from those enrolling in 2006 show:
*Ohio Board of Regents (2007). College Enrollment Patterns of Ohio First Time Freshmen:
Fall 1996 to Fall 2006. Columbus: Author.
** U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Nontraditional Undergraduates / Definitions and Data, at: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/web/97578e.asp
*** Note, the Ohio Board of Regents tracks enrolling freshmen for a full year, i.e. through Fall of 2007.
^ Ibid, p.3.
^^ Same percentage as the statewide figure.