Maximizing Value for Non-Traditional Students

Non-traditional students account for at least 73 percent of all students enrolled at a college or university in the United States today, but how much do higher education leaders really know about this demographic? Their expectations for how institutions should operate—both inside and outside the classroom—and their priorities are significantly different from those of 18-22 year old, ‘traditional’ students.

If institutions want to serve non-traditional students, and make them feel their educational investment was worthwhile, it’s critical to understand and meet (or exceed) these expectations.

Over the course of this Special Feature, we published articles and interviews shedding light on the expectations of non-traditional students and sharing thoughts on how to meet them.


Understanding the Expectations of Today’s Students

Outcomes and Experience Central to Non-Traditional Students’ Value Equation

Non-traditional students have unique academic and consumer expectations of their higher education institution, and leaders would do well to adapt to meeting those demands.

Higher Ed Must Enhance Administrative Self-Service Options to Meet Student Expectations

For universities to succeed in the modern era, they must update their business processes to match the expectations of today’s students.

Five Value-Defining Priorities of Non-Traditional Students

If a college or university wants to adequately serve the non-traditional marketplace, they need to ensure they understand the factors this group prioritizes when determining value.


Creating Value By Transforming the Higher Ed Business Model

Streamlined Business Processes Critical to Creating Value for Students

Adult students have high service expectations of their postsecondary institution and will vote with their feet if an institution does not meet those expectations.

Customer-Mindedness and the Student Value Question

Complete-institution commitment to the customer experience is a critical trait for any institution dedicated to creating and maximizing value for students.

Driving Increased ROI in Higher Education By Listening to Our Customers

To create a high-value higher education experience for students, college and university leaders need to pay more attention to the demands and needs of their customers.


Maximizing Value for Corporate Clients

Certificate Programs: The “New Black” in Professional Development

Given rising employer focus on professional education outcomes, institutions should consider launching certificate programs.

Beyond ROI: Five Ways Universities Create Additional Value for Employers in Corporate Learning

Beyond outcomes, there are some critical approaches professional education providers can take to maximize value for outcomes.

Relevance and Responsiveness: Keys to Success in the Corporate Training Marketplace

Agility and responsiveness are make-or-break aspects for universities when it comes to forming successful learning partnerships with employers.


Understanding Value from the Student Perspective

Why I’m Choosing a House Over a Degree

Given the choice between investing in a house or a graduate degree, the decision lies on whether the degree can advance a graduate’s career as far as a professional certification.

ROI for Adult Learners: Maximizing Higher Ed’s Non-Monetary Value

It’s critical for universities to make more extra-curricular opportunities available for learning to enrich the non-monetary value of their postsecondary experience.


Shifting Toward an Institutional Focus on Value

Transforming an Institution with eLearning: Creating Value by Moving from the Fringes to the Core

By bringing fringe units to the center of the institution, universities can leverage all the resources at their disposal to create value for all their students.

Adapting the Higher Ed Model to Suit Today’s Students

Higher education institutions need to update their offerings and processes to meet the expectations of the modern non-traditional student.

Evolving Credentialing to Meet the Needs of Outcomes-Focused Students

Higher education institutions need to communicate better with employers, both in terms of program relevance and credentialing, to create value for learners.

Creating Connection: Driving Learner Success with Smart Machines


New, smart technological tools help coordinate and strengthen relationships with students at every level of the institution.

Using Data to Create a Strong Student Experience

Improving use of data analytics in courses and programs creates a more student-centered, responsive experience for non-traditional students.


Creating Value Across Different Institutional Types

Big Names Don’t Trump Good Service When it Comes to Student Satisfaction

Even at institutions like Berkeley, creating a high-end customer experience has a massive impact on a student’s perception of value.

Using Data to Strengthen the Student Experience at Proprietary Institutions

Data is central to the work proprietary institutions are doing to meet student expectations in the modern era.

Creating Value By Focusing on Costs and Outcomes

Costs and outcomes are the two major concerns of non-traditional students, so addressing those issues while also providing a great experience maximizes value for this population.

Personalized Service and Labor Market Ties Enhance the Value of Small Liberal Arts Institutions


The personalized environment offered by small, liberal arts colleges can create an environment that encourages persistence and drives completion and higher-level learning outcomes.

Three Ways Proprietary Institutions Offer Students More Than They Pay For

By serving the student as a customer and focusing on career-pertinent outcomes, proprietary institutions ensure they are maximizing value for their students.


Assessing the Value of Extracurricular Participation

Co-Curricular Participation Drives Adult Student Excellence

Participation in co-curricular activities can provide students with networking and skill-development opportunities that can have a significant impact on their career trajectory.

Beyond Dodgeball: Tailoring Extracurricular Opportunities for Adults

Non-traditional students see the value in extra-curricular opportunities, but if those opportunities don’t align with their reasons for attending they won’t sacrifice their precious time to participate.


Maximizing Value for Online Students

Understanding and Meeting Needs Central to Creating Value for Online Students

By focusing on understanding and meeting the needs of the students, both during enrollment and after graduation, institutions can be sure they are creating real value for learners.

Minimizing Online Students’ Transactional Distance to Maximize Value

Constant improvement and focus on communication with online students is critical to maximizing the value of the online education experience.

Four Factors Competing with Price as a Differentiator for Online Students

Price is a key definer of choice for online students, but service, convenience, instructional quality and seamlessness of experience all play a role in institutional differentiation in the online marketplace.


The Role of IT in Maximizing Value for Students

Taking the Lead: How IT Delivers the Experience Students Expect

Central IT units have a significant influence on the capacity for an institution to provide students the consumer functionality they expect from any other industry.

Four Ways Institutional IT Creates Value for Students

IT departments are not only central in creating a richer student experience; they directly support skill development and employability of graduates.


Defining and Creating Value for Non-Traditional Students

Honing a Spectrum of Learner Access

Ultimately, creating value for students across the Spectrum of Access requires institutions to demolish silos that exist across the institution.

ROI and the Post-Traditional Learner

Meeting the value expectations of post-traditional students requires institutions to rethink how they operate and who they serve.

Meeting and Managing the Expectations of Today’s Students

It’s no longer incumbent on students to simply accept the value of higher education, institutions must actively and consciously work to show students the value across their entire lifecycle.

Academic Success Coaching and Creating Return on Investment for Adult Students

By personalizing the educational experience and ensuring students stay academically on-track, success coaching can play a pivotal role in helping create value for non-traditional students.

Higher Education Maintains High Earnings Promise for Graduates

Higher education still provides student value in its capacity to allow learners to pursue their passions while positioning them for higher earning potential.


How Students’ Focus on Value Impacts Institutions

Creating Value by Meeting Service and Outcome Demands

Focusing on student learning outcomes and ensuring that they have access to the services they need in the ways they expect are critical to maximizing value for students.

Data Analysis and Our Capacity to Measure Higher Ed’s Value

There’s more to measuring the value of higher education than completion rates alone.

Clearer Labor Market Links Critical to Meeting Student Expectations

Paramount among the various expectations of today’s students is the better and clearer connection between higher education and the workforce.


Learning From CE: Creating Value for All Students

Creating Value by Delivering On The Varied Expectations of Non-Traditional Students

Personalization through understanding the unique and various factors different students deem valuable, and delivering on those ends, is a defining feature of institutions that serve non-traditional students.

CE Focus on Customer Experience Would Benefit Main Campus

Main campus leaders could benefit from adopting the customer service excellence focus of their colleagues in continuing education.


Marketing ROI: Communicating Value to Students

Prioritize Personalization in Marketing to Kick Off Great Student Experience

Personalizing the consumer experience is critical for gaining trust, which is turn leads to greater enrollments and better student experiences.

Contextualizing ROI as a Means of Market Differentiation: Going Beyond the Numbers

Higher education marketers, before all else, need to segment their marketplace based on audience and then analyze each distinct group to determine what factors they consider valuable.

Building Value from the Start: Four Key Actions

Personalizing the consumer experience is critical for gaining trust, which is turn leads to greater enrollments and better student experiences.

Learn to Earn: Communicating the ROI of Continuing Education

There are explicit and intrinsic advantages every institution can offer its students, but translating those to prospective students and differentiating from competitors requires significant thought.


Vendor Partnerships and Maximizing Value for Students

Service Partnerships Key to Creating Value for Students

Forging partnerships with service providers helps institutions provide the best-in-class learner engagement today’s students are looking for.

In-House or Service Provider? Meeting the Expectations of Today’s Students

Delivering the expected high-end customer experience of today’s students is a challenge, but partnerships with service providers can help to alleviate the pressure.


Transforming the Institution to Focus on Student Value

Service to Students: It’s a New Day

Creating an institutional culture of student service facilitated by a high-tech, high-touch approach will create a customer experience that breeds lifelong retention.

Effectiveness Over Efficiency: How to Succeed in Today’s Higher Ed Market

Delivering the expected high-end customer experience of today’s students is a challenge, but partnerships with service providers can help to alleviate the pressure.

Five Ways Institutions Can Create Experiences that Exceed Adult Student Expectations

Transforming the institution to create experiences that meet non-traditional students’ value expectations demands institution-wide buy-in and focus.