When you picture a college student, you might conjure a 19-year-old attending school full-time, living on campus just a few months after graduating from high school.
While that may be the traditional image of the average college student, those fitting that profile account for less than a quarter of those enrolled in institutes of higher education. Overall, “non-traditional” students now make up the majority of degree seekers in the U.S.
Related: 15 Best Colleges for Older Students
More than 40 percent of today’s college students attend school part-time, and more than 60 percent work either full or part-time. By 2020, nearly one in five college and graduate students will be over the age of 35.
There’s good reason for older students to pursue more education. College degrees are becoming a de facto requirement among employers. By 2020, nearly two thirds of all jobs in the country will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school, according to a 2014 report from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
College Factual, which collects and analyses higher education data, has crunched the numbers on nearly a thousand institutions to find the best colleges for older students. Their analysis considers several factors, including the availability of flexible learning, demonstrable success after graduation, and the percentage of students over age 24.