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Recent Study Examines Barriers For Nontraditional Students

Western Governors University recently conducted a study about the outstanding barriers adult learners in Utah face as nontraditional students.

Wesley Smith is the senior vice president of policy and public affairs at Western Governors University. He said the recent study was an attempt to better understand the challenges non-traditional learners face. 


“What we learned is that there are two big obstacles for nontraditional students and they’re not surprising," Smith said. "One is cost, our research indicates that 89% say that cost is an obstruction to pursuing higher education and the other is time.” 


Smith said resources for nontraditional students in Utah are becoming more prominent and urges people to take advantage of those opportunities. 


“The state of Utah is addressing adult learners and non traditional learners," he said. "There are scholarships available and the Utah System of Higher Education is administering a program for nontraditional learners.”


At Weber State University, the nontraditional student center is taking steps and preparing their employees to better serve nontraditional students. Debbie Cragun is the center's director.


“Being really aware of those needs and being in tune with what resources can we provide and enhancing that, through not only the outreach committee but within our department being able to have community resources," Cragun said.


Scholarships especially for non-traditional students are another resource the school is offering. Cragun said other schools in the state should make sure to prioritize meeting the needs of non traditional students. 


“It’s really important for campuses to have a place for nontraditional students," she said. "They do have unique needs. They have a lot of barriers and that's our mission to remove those barriers.”