With the enrollment of college students 25 years or older projected to increase in the next 10 years, the “over 25” student population has become the fastest growing segment in higher education enrollment in the U.S. and constitutes in part the “nontraditional” students that the Northern Marianas College would like to accommodate through its new and “very exciting” program.
Frankie M. Eliptico, NMC director for external relations, said yesterday that the Climb Higher Initiative aims to reach out to the nontraditional student population within the community by helping them earn their college degrees while accomplishing their personal and professional obligations.
Eliptico, guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Saipan meeting held at Hyatt Regency Saipan, described nontraditional students as typically 25 years or older, currently working full- or part-time in the government or private sector, have had a break in their educational journey due to personal commitments or obligations, and have dependents other than a spouse.
Compared to the nontraditional students, “traditional” students are usually those age 18 to 22 years and come out of high school and attend college full-time.
“The Climb Higher Initiative at the NMC is really the college's way of reaching out to the nontraditional student population,” Eliptico addressed the Rotarians.
He admitted that the college has not been aggressive in recruiting nontraditional students and focuses on taking in more traditional students.
But Eliptico noted that only 16 percent of total college enrollment in the U.S. fits the traditional student model, while the over 25 student population is projected to increase in double digits within the next decade.
According to Eliptico, most of NMC's students belong in the traditional student population for various reasons, including the lack of part-time scholarship programs, having student services catered only to traditional students, and fewer evening or weekend classes offered.
Thanks to the assistance of the College Access Challenge Program, NMC is now able to extend its services to these nontraditional students through the Climb Higher Initiative.
Eliptico said they have been communicating with nontraditional students to find out how NMC can meet their needs, and among their recommendations are additional evening courses, accelerated time period, and combining online courses with in-class type of instruction.
He said the Climb Higher initiative and corresponding options will be better explained to nontraditional students through the upcoming summit next month.
The Climb Higher Summit is slated for Oct. 5, from 8am to noon at Charley's Cabaret of the Pacific Islands Club in San Antonio.
Eliptico said the summit is designed to provide working professionals all available options for those who want to enjoy the benefits of having a college degree. Information regarding available financial aid and degree programs will be presented at the summit.
Because of the “overwhelming” response of the community to the summit, Eliptico said they closed the registration last week and are planning to host another one in the next few months.
For more information about the Climb Higher initiative, call NMC at 234-5498.