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Title page for ETD etd-11212016-164829

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hutchens, Mary Kierst
Author's Email Address mary.k.hutchens@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-11212016-164829
Title Nontraditional Students and Nontraditional Enrollment Patterns: College Choice, Multiple Life Roles, and Developmental Education
Degree PhD
Department Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William Doyle Committee Chair
Donald Hossler Committee Member
Douglas Christiansen Committee Member
John M. Braxton Committee Member
  • meta-analysis
  • college choice
  • event history analysis
  • nontraditional students
  • higher education
  • developmental education
Date of Defense 2016-08-22
Availability unrestricted
The majority of college students in the United States are “nontraditional”—only 26% of currently enrolled students fit the criteria to be considered a traditional college student. Developmental education is another aspect of American higher education that is considered nontraditional, while being fairly prevalent. At two-year institutions, 52% of students take at least one developmental course, in addition to 20% at four-year institutions. Presented here are three papers that address these central issues, currently under-examined and frequently misunderstood. The first paper explores the college choice process for nontraditional students and identifies a new potential conceptual framework for examining that process among this particular group of students. The second paper looks at the impact of multiple life roles on postsecondary completion among nontraditional students, finding significant negative effects of additional life roles, and indicating that the negative impact is more severe for women than for men. The third and final paper is a meta-analysis of existing research on the impact of developmental education. It finds significant disagreement within the field, but very little indication as to why; it suggests new directions for research on developmental education that might help the field build consensus.
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