10 Colleges With the Most Older Students

Devon Haynie

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

Adult students 25 and over - an increasing presence on U.S. campuses - come to school with their own unique concerns and goals.

Unlike their younger peers, these students tend to be more doubtful than traditional students about going to school and less likely to have concrete plans in terms of what to study, according to a November report by Public Agenda.

They are more confident about their ability to succeed academically and are more inclined to value online learning.

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While overall enrollment of students 25 and older continues to grow, they are still the minority on most college campuses.

On average, students age 25 and older accounted for roughly 15 percent of all degree-seeking undergraduate students during fall 2012, according to enrollment data reported by 1,124 ranked schools in 2013 to U.S. News in an annual survey.

In about two dozen of those schools, whose main mission is to educate nontraditional students, older students were in the majority. Among the 10 colleges with the most older students, an average of 68.6 percent of undergraduates were 25 or older.

Mid-Continent University had the highest proportion of students ages 25 and older, at 83 percent. At DeVry University, a for-profit school offering online and in-person instruction, 72 percent of undergraduates are nontraditional in terms of age.

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Below are the 10 schools with the most students age 25 and older. Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.

Several schools on this list are designated Rank Not Published, or RNP. This denotes a school ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

School name (state) Percent of undergraduates 25 and over (fall 2012) Total undergraduate enrollment (fall 2012) U.S. News rank and category
Mid-Continent University (KY) 83 2,174 RNP, Regional Colleges (South)
DeVry University (IL) 72 59,484 RNP, Regional Universities (Midwest)
Post University (CT) 72 6,546 RNP, Regional Colleges (North)
Maine Maritime Academy 70.8 970 7, Regional Colleges (North)
Cardinal Stritch University (WI) 69.4 2,799 RNP, National Universities
Texas A&M University--Commerce 67 6,768 RNP, National Universities
St. Mary-of-the-Woods College (IN) 64 864 18, Regional Colleges (Midwest)
Aquinas College (TN) 63 553 30, Regional Colleges (South)
Keiser University (FL) 63 15,842 57, Regional Colleges (South)
Regis University (CO) 62 5,750 27, Regional Universities (West)

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find student demographic data, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The student demographic and enrollment data above are correct as of Jan. 7, 2014.