Policies Impacting Non-Traditional Students

Many adult students face obstacles that increase the difficulty of attaining their degree. Advocating for oneself, or non-traditional students in general, must address specific needs. Find a cause meaningful to you, and future adult students, that will have a positive impact on collective academic success. Seek out allies and people of influence. Raise your voice!

Today's Nontraditional Student: Challenges to Academic Success and Degree Completion

Create Alliances: You may want to begin by exploring the various programs our state supports to encourage higher education.

New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

Complete College America "At CCA, we're leveraging our Alliance and implementing strategies around the country to close achievement gaps, boost graduation rates and ensure every student has the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”

Transfer Credit Policy

New Jersey Transfer Policy for Community College Students

The State of New Jersey has an agreement between community colleges and 4 year Universities to accept 60 credits and waive General Education requirements upon completion of an Associates of Arts or Associates of Science.

Comprehensive State-wide Transfer Agreement

Transfer Credit Deficiencies

The biggest gaps in awarding transfer credits affect out-of-state, military, and technical credits. The denial of transfer credits leads to additional semesters spent in college and increased debt for adult students. Both results contribute to a higher risk of withdrawal from college for nontraditional students. Wider acceptance of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credits would also benefit nontraditional students when they are able to receive credit for expertise outside of traditional academic criteria.

Transfer Policy Advocates

Research and policy suggestions that could save students time and money are available from from various organizations. Please visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for an example of how policy advocacy for nontraditional students can make a difference!

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Area of Focus: Transfers

American Council on Education - Innovative Initiative Enabled by $1.86 Million Gates Foundation Grant

ACE Alternative Credit Project to Increase Attainment Levels for Nontraditional Learners With Some College, No Degree

Preadmission Evaluations

Transfer students often need an assessment of their credits prior to enrollment to decide which program would enable them to graduate in less time and at a lower cost. Most colleges do not have the staff to complete these preadmission evaluations that are essential for adult students to make the best decision for their academic success and financial health.

Flexible Scheduling

Course Options

Students need schedules that accommodate their busy lives. Online, hybrid, evening, weekend and accelerated courses can enable them to complete their degree.

How to Better Serve Returning Adult Students

Course Scheduling Strategies

How 3 Colleges Keep Adult Learners on Track to Graduate

Supportive Employers

Flexible Work Schedules

Advocate with employers to receive a more flexible schedule. A more educated workforce is in their best interests and immediately beneficial to their company.

Department of Labor - Flexible Schedules

Tuition Remission

Professions that Pay for College Tuition

Student Services


Often, nontraditional students will need to use services and resources outside of traditional work hours. Advocating for more flexible hours of available services is essential to strengthening the support system student need to perform well academically and receive administrative assistance.

Academic Support at Rutgers

Advising for Nontraditional Rutgers Students - University College

Academic Assistance

Rutgers Learning Resource Center

Food Pantry

Rutgers Task Force on Student Aid:

"Rutgers should continue raising awareness about food insecurity and of the various services available to students, while working to eliminate its stigmas on campus, the report stated. 

It can also extend pantry hours and include weekends to increase access, explore options for the consistent funding of pantries and provide additional emergency funds from its budgets during the yearly planning to match campus needs, according to the report."

The Daily Targum

Rutgers Student Food Pantry

Food, Housing Insecurity May Be Keeping College Students from Graduating NPR

Still Hungry and Homeless in College


Balancing the cost of housing and an undergraduate education is one of the principle challenges for nontraditional students. Rutgers students can live in on-campus family housing at a variety of locations including Johnson, Marvin, and Nichols Residence Halls. There are approximately 100 available units that accommodate families. There is an application process and if units fill-up, students will be placed on a waitlist. Off-campus housing is also available through our partnership with Places4Students. 

Rutgers Housing


Students without stable, affordable housing are at risk of leaving college without completing their degree.

Housing Instability among College Students

Nontraditional Women

Douglass recognizes that mature women students require different kinds of support and guidance than traditional-aged students. We encourage you to join the Bunting community of nontraditional women!

Bunting Program for Nontraditional Students

Family Obligations

Rutgers Students with Children

Student parents have increased obstacles to completing their undergraduate degree. We encourage you to explore the resources on the SWC website and connect with other parents facing similar challenges.

Students with Children

Child Care Policies for Student Parents

The National Women's Law Center advocates for policies that affect women. Their research enumerates the many benefits of providing child care assistance as a means to facilitate acquiring a college degree.

Building Pathways, Creating Roadblocks: State Child Care Assistance Policies for Parents in School