non standard term

Keeping Financial Aid Administrators In the Know

Melissa Maichle ., Community Colleges, Compliance, Federal Student Aid Programs, General Issues in Financial Aid

TRUE or FALSE. Your school offers programs that include self-paced or independent study courses that overlap terms.

TRUE or FALSE. Your school has programs that measure progress in clock hours.

TRUE or FALSE. Your school has programs that have courses that overlap terms.

TRUE or FALSE. Your school has programs with terms that don’t meet the federal definition of semester, trimester, or quarter terms.


nonstandard term


If you answered TRUE to any one of the statements above, then you are by definition are offering non-term and/or non-standard term programs. The main demographic enrolling in non-standard terms are students over the age of 25, which the National Center for Education Statistics expects to increase by 20% between 2012-2023. Only 29% of all college enrollees are considered “traditional” students, attending four-year programs right out of high school.

That means, the remaining 70% are “non-traditional” students seeking out non-standard programs that can work around their busy schedules which often involves taking care of their children or working a full-time job. These programs are becoming more popular, but are also the most complex for schools to implement and maintain given the high risk for noncompliance. HEAG has some of the industry’s leading experts regarding non-term & nonstandard term programs involving initial setup, program roll-out and continued support once they begin. HEAG can assist with institutional considerations that need to occur in order to maintain compliance. These considerations include Student Information System requirements, financial aid staff knowledge, policy changes, academic and faculty engagement and attendance taking.

For more information on maintaining compliance in a non-term and nonstandard term environment, please visit our recent blog post below which also includes a copy of a PowerPoint presentation on these very topics, presented by Karyn Wright-Moore, Vice President of Compliance and Quality Assurance.

Maintaining Compliance in Non-Standard and Non-Term Program Environments

Sources on enrollment statistics: