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Keywords:

  • Non-traditional students;
  • higher education;
  • older female students;
  • barriers

Abstract

While the GI bill after WWII encouraged education for the older students, the combination of baby boomers and the rise of feminism have prompted a new wave of returning students to academia. The nontraditional student since the 1970s has often been an older female returning for a graduate degree. Making the decision to return has not been easy, and the older student can expect to encounter multiple barriers to her progress before attaining her desired degree. These barriers have been in place and have been the subject of studies for the past forty years, and they remain firmly in place in the new century. This study looks at the barriers through the lens of one older female student in her first summer of graduate school. Using data from diaries, narrative journals, class papers, and reflections, the student compares her experiences with the findings of current studies.