Spotlight On: Non-Traditional Students

Being a college student is stressful. One of the major things I’ve struggled with is finding the time to accomplish my personal goals in a matter of months. Students are expected to work for minimum wage or nothing, keep grades up and maintain a social life. 

girl stressed at computer

I often wonder how many other students are working full time jobs to just attend college. What about the students who can’t receive additional financial assistance because their parents simply “make too much” while they struggle to support their families? 


I am a graduating senior with a full-time job. I am also interning part-time as I perform my responsibilities as a mother. I juggle attending class and getting proper rest all the time.


 I get it, you’re probably thinking, “well that’s on you”. There’s so many students with stories like mine, who work full-time to fund their college journey and their personal lives. 


I’ve always thought college is an educational experience meant to be enjoyed. But how can students fully enjoy their experience when they worry about the financial aspects of investing in an education?


The issue is that many colleges like Georgia State University (GSU) make it nearly impossible to be a student and maintain an average life.


But, GSU has come quite a long way in what classes they offer students. The truth is GSU could increase the amount of non-traditional courses since students are paying about ten-thousand dollars per semester and that's only half of what students pay for out of state tuition.

wallet peaking out back pocket with credit cards Pixabay - Steve Buissinne

College experience is all about getting ready for the “real” world. Imagine if GSU allowed students to go to work and attend classes without repercussions of the attendance policy which is set at a 4 day absent maximum. This would create a healthy “work-life” balance, ultimately creating benefits for working students.  


This time in college should prepare students to transition into their own path of adulthood. If GSU increased the amount of online courses to students, it would give students the flexibility to have jobs and pay for school. 


Currently GSU offers students the option of attending courses in-class or online. Nonetheless, you’re considered lucky if you’re able to grab the very small amount of online courses they do offer. After students have secured their classes to fit around their work schedules, they then have to worry if they will have enough money for other expenses along with paying for tuition. 


By giving students the flexibility to work and attend school without the hassle of a standard class schedule. This would decrease the amount of college students that dropout due to finances. According to Fox Business, about 51% of students drop out due to costs. 

Patrick Spongebob Money Tenor

Unfortunately, due to lack of state college funding and since the 2008 recession, funds have increased at least 3% in tuition prices. This particularly affects minority students and their parents, often leaving them with thousands of dollars debt after graduating. 


GSU could argue that they give students the option of setting up a payment plan, but that is also determined by the school. A payment plan should reflect what students could afford without jeopardizing their education. 


GSU should offer students the opportunity to have an affordable payment plan, withhold from dropping courses in the middle of the semester or make tuition affordable for all students. 


Afterall, isn’t the point of college to invest in something because you believe that a piece of paper will help you accomplish your goals? College shouldn’t be used as a tool to manipulate students to owe excessive amounts of money after graduation.