Part-time student

Higher education Sharan Merriam University of British Columbia

A part-time student is a non-traditional student who pursues higher education, typically after reaching physical maturity, while living off-campus, and possessing responsibilities related to family and/or employment.[1] Part-time student status is based on taking fewer course credits in a semester than full-time students.

In the United States, the number of part-time students rose 16 percent between 2004 and 2014.[2] In 2015, 23 percent of undergraduate students at 4-year institutions attended part-time, compared to 61 percent of students at 2-year institutions.[3]

In Canada, the course load that constitutes part-time student status varies between institutions. The University of British Columbia, for example, defines a part-time undergraduate student as one enrolled in less than 80 percent of the standard 30 credit-hour course load.[4] The University of Manitoba defines the part-time undergraduate student as an individual enrolled in less than 60 percent of the standard full 30 credit hour course load.[5] The Government of Canada national student loans program defines a part-time student as one who is enrolled in 20–59 percent of a full course load.[6]

In Canada part-time undergraduate enrolment grew by 25 percent from 1980 to 1992. From 2000 to 2010, part-time enrolment grew by one percent a year compared to four percent for full-time enrolment.[7] A high number of part-time students are adult students. In 2010, approximately 24 percent of undergraduate students in Canada were studying part-time, and 60 percent of part-time students were 25 years old or older.[7]

In the United Kingdom, while full-time students have been increasing, part-time student enrolment has been steady decreasing since 2009–2010. In 2011–2012, 31 percent of all enrolments were part-time, while in 2015–2016 part-time students consisted of 24 percent of all enrolments. Between 2011–2012 and 2015–2016 there was an overall 30 percent decrease of part-time students.[8]

In Australia, 31.2 percent of students in 2008 were enrolled part-time. Between 2003 and 2008, while the number of students attending full time increased by 21.1 percent, the number attending part-time enrollments increased by only 2.5 percent.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Bean, J., P., & Metzner, B., S. (Winter,1985). A conceptual model of non-traditional undergraduate student attrition. Review of Educational Research, 55(4), 485-540. Retrieved November 6, 2007, from JSTOR database.
  2. ^ Digest of Education Statistics, 2015 (NCES 2016-014). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. 2016. pp. Chapter 3.
  3. ^ "Characteristics of Postsecondary Students (NCES 2017144)" (PDF). The Condition of Education 2017. National Center for Education Statistics. 2017.
  4. ^ The University of British. (N.D.) Student Calendar. Retrieved September 28, 2007 from: http://www.students.ubc.ca/calendar/index.cfm?tree=12,195,272,29
  5. ^ The University of Manitoba. (N.D.) Student Records. Retrieved September 26, 2007, from: http://umanitoba.ca/student/records/registration/961.htm
  6. ^ Employment and Social Development Canada (N.D.) Canada student loans program: Part-time studies. Government of Canada. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from http://www.canlearn.ca/en/Multimedia/nslsc/pdf/guides/CAN_PT_EN.pdf
  7. ^ a b "Trends in higher education: Volume 1 – enrolment" (PDF). The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. 2011.
  8. ^ "Higher education student enrolments and qualifications obtained at higher education providers in the United Kingdom 2015/16". HESA. January 12, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "Students: 2008 Summary of Higher Education Statistics" (PDF). Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. April 4, 2014. pp. 38–39.