College students do not fit into stereotypes

Modern college students tend to be older and less dependent on their parents' financial support.
Modern college students tend to be older and less dependent on their parents' financial support.

When many people imagine the traditional college student, they picture 18- to 20-year olds hanging around their dorms and earning an education with their parents' financial support. Perhaps this was once true, but research shows that modern degree seekers are not so stereotypical.

According to a 2011 study by an online university, about 52 percent of college students are over the age of 22, meaning that the number of adult learners has been increasing in recent years. Additional research from the U.S. Census shows that approximately 13 percent of degree seekers are between the ages of 25 and 29, while almost 8 percent are between the ages of 30 and 34.

The university survey also shows that about 27 percent of college students support themselves and do not rely on money from their parents or other individuals. In order to do so, about 63 percent of degree seekers hold jobs while pursuing higher learning, according to 2008 data from the NASPA Foundation.

In order to make it easier to work while earning a degree, many students now use online education. The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning indicates that about 5.6 million students were taking at least one web-based class in 2009.

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