Fleming, Dr Ted and Murphy, Dr Mark
College Knowledge: Power, Policy and the Mature Student Experience of University.
The characteristics and experience of mature students at the
National University of Ireland Maynooth were examined in a study in which data were collected from the following: detailed questionnaire mailed to all 298 mature students registered at NU1 Maynooth and returned by 164 (55%) of them; semistructured interviews with a sample of 20 individuals selected from the 164 respondents based on certain demographic characteristics; and 4 focus groups. Policy regarding national and international changes in higher education (HE) was reviewed along with the literature on financial issues affecting mature students in HE, mature students' relationships and external commitments, and the learning process.
The typical mature student was young, single, and childless. Although finance was not the most crucial issue for the respondents, it always lay close to the surface. The main motivations cited for entering the university were to obtain a qualification that would jump-start their careers and to prove to themselves that they could get a degree. Those who entered the university with vocational ambitions were most likely to be successful. Twenty-two
policy proposals were formulated.
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