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Non-Traditional Students

You might be asking yourself, am I a non-traditional student? Well, if you commute 10 or more miles to the Lawrence campus, have any dependents, a veteran, or three years older than your classmates (i.e. 21 year old freshman), then yes you are!


KU's Undergraduate Student Population is Non-Traditional*
Non-Traditional Student Scholarship Opportunities

Non-Traditional Student FAQs

"Non-Traditional student" shall be defined as a student who:

  • commutes 10 or more miles to campus (from home OR work),
  • or is a parent of dependent children, or is married,
  • or is a veteran, or student who has had their academic career interrupted for a period of at least six months by compulsory military service,
  • or is three or more years older than classmates (e.g., a 21+ year-old freshman, a 24+ year-old senior), or is a 25 years or older undergraduate student.

A highly diverse group of students are identified as "non-traditional" at KU, not as a label, but to provide a way for the University to recognize and provide additional outreach assistance to students who may, for a variety of reasons, experience more than the average difficulty in accessing information to meet their needs at KU.

* A precise number is not available due to missing data, so our numbers underestimate the population of non-traditional students who are married, parents, or commuters, especially for students of "traditional" age. We estimate that the total non-traditional, undergraduate population would be closer to 5,000 if data were complete, roughly 25% of KU's undergraduate population.

Among KU's undergraduates, 7.4% of students are over the age of 25; additional age data are available in the KU Student Profile. There are also 1,500+ students with military affiliations on campus. Students of any age may have nontraditional needs; all students tend to become more "non-traditional" in the sense of becoming more mature and experienced as learners. Over a third of non-traditional students are actually of traditional age (39% are age 24 or younger). Part-time students and students who have limited financial resources share much in common with many non-traditional students regardless of age.

A number of non-traditional services, like the individual problem-solving offered by the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, are no different from those offered to other students but recognize each student's individual needs. While not a "one-stop shopping" office, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center has information and knowledge on a broad array of issues and concerns. Visit our Non-Traditional Student Resource Page to learn about the variety of resources available. 

KU celebrates the "National Non-Traditional Student Week" in early November each year, and the Student Involvement and Leadership Center provides programming and resources catered to non-traditional students throughout the year.

The Student Involvement and Leadership Center also administers scholarships that are specifically for non-traditional students each Spring. 

In returning to education after a long absence, some degree of trepidation is common. The University Academic Support Centers provide resources to help lead students to success as well as individual consultations to help students develop time management study skills, and test taking strategies.  

Like any major life change, returning to school or adapting to a new environment requires some adjustment. For non-traditional students with families, it is helpful if families recognize and discuss up front some of the adjustments that they may need to make as well. Balancing work, family, and academic requirements can be a delicate task. Seeking assistance, asking questions, and preparing in advance for emergencies or establishing backup plans is helpful. Non-traditional students make valuable contributions to the University both in and out of the classroom. Faculty appreciate serious and conscientious students off all ages. We're glad you're here - when you need to hear this, stop in and visit!

Non-Traditional Student Scholarships

The Student Involvement and Leadership Center administers the award process for Non-Traditional Student Endowment and Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) scholarships.
About Scholarship Opportunities