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Michigan’s Growing Population of Non-Traditional Students Leading to Digital Shift

Public universities in Michigan have been noticing a major shift in their student demographics and are turning to digital educational resources as a way to accommodate the needs of these learners.

The Global Campus at Central Michigan University (CMU) enrolls over 10,000 students annually. According to the Central Michigan Life, the institution is beginning to observe growth in their non-traditional student segment.

Merodie Hancock, vice president of The Global Campus, told the Central Michigan Life that the University is partnering with several campus and community programs to better meet the needs of their adult students.  Increasing the use of digital resources such as online classes, virtual libraries and new innovative teaching methods are important for CMU to meet the needs of non-traditional students, Hancock said.

According to Hancock, the retention rate of non-traditional students at The Global Campus has been roughly 80 percent for graduate programs and approximately 60 percent for undergraduate programs from semester to semester in the last year.

“Both campuses are learning from each other how to better serve the needs (of non-traditional students),” Hancock told the Central Michigan Life.

In addition to CMU, the University of Michigan has recognized the changing needs of its student population and has implemented free courses via the iTunes U App which can be downloaded to a user’s iDeviceApple device, making it easier for students, including those who are non-traditional, to pursue classes at their own pace.

In order for non-traditional students to succeed in higher education, Hancock said that barriers will need to be removed at CMU.

“I’d like to see it where we hold strong to both traditional and non-traditional students,” she told Central Michigan Life.