CNN — Mother, early 30s, financially independent, loves shopping online: The description may not match your idea of the typical college student.
But Edudemic.com is working to reshape the stereotype with some new data about today's seekers of higher education.
For instance, over 6 million of today's college students - about 30% - will go online for at least one of their courses, according to the report. And they'll stay online to do their shopping; college students spent $16 billion over the internet in 2011.
It's easy to understand how the recession drove many adults back to college campuses. But the idea that 25% of today's college students are over age 30 might come as a surprise. So might the estimate that half of them are financially independent, whereas many of us remember calling home for pizza money.
A study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education estimated that only a third of new jobs created between 2008 and 2018 will require a bachelor's or higher degree. Today's enrollment reflects that. Edudemic.com states that over 50% of today's students are working toward a certification that takes less time to achieve, such as studying a trade or earning an associate's degree.
And 27% will be balancing their studies with parenting.
The report notes that a total of 19.7 million people will enroll in college this year. That works out to more than 6% of the U.S. population.