Education policy leaders increasingly are recognizing the importance of the 21st century student in meeting the nation’s goal on increased attainment. At the closing debriefing of the October White House Summit on Community Colleges, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke of discussions around the term “non-traditional” student. Duncan said non-tradtional is probably a misnomer since these students are the new norm. A better alternative might be “21st century” student, suggested Duncan, and he raised the question as to whether community colleges were set up to deal with a student who might be a 28-year-old mother with three children who is working and going to school. Some places are, he said, while some might not be.

Lumina supports the 21st Century student

The 21st century student runs the gamut—racially, ethnically and socially. These students can be recent high school graduates or second-career retirees; part-time distance learners or full-time residential students; a GED completer or a certificate seeker. The 21st century student has roots in every country from Mexico to Malaysia to Mali.

To increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025, America needs all types of students to succeed, and they must succeed in far greater numbers.

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