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What It Takes For Non-Traditional College Students To Succeed In San Diego

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What It Takes For Non-Traditional College Students To Succeed In San Diego
What It Takes For Non-Traditional College Students To Succeed In San Diego
What It Takes For Non-Traditional College Students To Succeed In San Diego GUESTS:Mike Rose, author, "Back To School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education" Lynn Neault, vice chancellor of student services, San Diego Community College District Alysaun Knox, student, San Diego Mesa College

Students at San Diego community colleges are starting their second week of the fall semester and many of those students are considered "non-traditional students."

In 2013, 48 percent of San Diego City College students, 36 percent of San Diego Mesa College students and 51 percent of San Diego Miramar College students were 25 or older.

The percentage of undergraduates over the age of 40 have doubled since 1970, according to the book "Back To School, Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education." by Mike Rose.

Rose, a research professor at UCLA, highlights the stories of some non-traditional college students in his book. He said he chose to tell their stories because they are stories that are often untold.

"We don't hear much about the community colleges and the many, many students who are coming back to school," Rose told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday. "I just thought we needed to hear this story and the way they are changing the face of higher education in the United States. I think for the better."

Rose, who was a first generation college student, said the average age of a community college student is 28. He said the adults go back to school for various reasons.

"The big one is to try and get a leg up in this economy," Rose said. "But when you have time with these folks — all kinds of interesting reasons come out. They want to read and write better, they want to be a role model for kids. Certainly, the economic motive is a big one but these other ones are powerful too and it draws people back to school."

Alysaun Knox, a student at San Diego Mesa College, is an example of the "non-traditional college student."

Knox, who dropped out of high school, returned to school to earn her GED while attending San Diego Mesa College.

"It had always bothered me that I didn't finish high school," said 31-year-old Knox, who is now in her second year in college.

Lynn Neault, vice chancellor of student services for the San Diego Community College District, said Knox's story is common among the student body.

"We have countless number of students with similar stories," Neault said. "They come to us from all different walks of life (and) numerous challenges."

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