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Over the last 20 years, the percentage of older students on college campuses has increased dramatically. Because developmental needs, issues, and stressors for adults differ from those of younger students, the college environment must be reconsidered to respond to adult students. Adult learners tend to be achievement oriented, highly motivated, and relatively independent with special needs for flexible schedules and instruction appropriate for their developmental level. Adults generally prefer more active approaches to learning and value opportunities to integrate academic learning with their life and work experiences. Financial and family concerns are two major considerations for adult students. Adults may return to college because of changing job requirements, family life transitions, changes in leisure patterns, and self-fulfillment. Nontraditional students need many different kinds of support and assistance from family, friends, and institutions of higher learning. Research suggests that adult men and women may vary in their motivations for returning to school, the pressures and challenges they face as adult students, and the types of student services they desire. A number of studies have identified adult student needs for services which have implications for the student affairs profession. The willingness of institutions to modify existing programs and develop new services geared to adult populations will have a positive impact on their ability to attract, serve, and satisfy the educational needs of adult students. (NB)

Descriptors: Adult Development, Adult Students, Age Differences, Aging (Individuals), College Students, Educational Opportunities, Higher Education, Nontraditional Students, Sex Differences, Student Development

Autor: Benshoff, James M.


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