The New Traditional: Addressing Financial Literacy and Delivery Needs for Adult Learners

Non-traditional students, those students often older than 24, typically employed full time, and commonly providing financial support to dependents, now comprise up to 70 percent of the post-secondary population. They present the dichotomy of a learner that brings advanced experience to the classroom, yet may not have mastered foundational skills that are integral to the college learning experience. Not the least of these skills is the ability to achieve fiscal wellness, the cornerstone of any sound financial literacy program.


In an effort to recognize the changed face of the “typical” college student, this research brief addresses the need for financial literacy targeted toward adult learners, as determined by surveying students about perceived financial capability, access to financial education, applied financial behaviors, and financial aid borrowing habits. It also offers a framework for incorporating adult learning theory to better engage non-traditional students.


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