Non-Traditional Students

What is a non-traditional student?

A non-tradtional student is anyone who satisfies one or more of the following conditions:

  • 25 years or older
  • Assumes multiple life roles such as a parent, spouse/partner, full time employee, caregiver and student
  • Returns to school after taking a break
  • An active, reserve or veteran of the military
  • Any student, regardless of age, whose primary life roles and responsibilities exist independent of the University and take precedence over the role of student in times of crisis or stress is considered to be an adult student.

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Students have the ability to earn credit through alternative means including credit by exam (e.g. AP, CLEP), life and work experiences via Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), and courses earned at non-regionally accredited colleges and universities. Please see the detailed information on each alternative below. Additional questions can be referred directly to the Office of Admissions.

  • AP, or Advanced Placement Tests: Students earning a 3 or above are guaranteed college credit through the Ohio Department of Higher Education State policy. See the YSU AP test grid to review what college level credit(s) you will receive for each test taken.
  • CLEP, The College-Level Examination Program®: CLEP gives the student an opportunity to earn college credit based on previously gained knowledge and qualifying scores on one or more CLEP examinations, which tests the knowledge of introductory college-level subjects. Youngstown State University's Comprehensive Testing Center offers all 33 CLEP exams. Lists of the exam(s) for which credit is granted, the required scores, and the courses for which a student could receive credit can be found via the Testing Center CLEP page.
  • PLA, Prior Learning Assessment: PLA allows a student to apply relevant learning, work, and life experiences toward college credits through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process. Students may be able to fulfill some elective, major courses, and/or general education courses by going through the PLA process. For more information on PLA, please visit the Prior Learning Assessment page.

  • Non-regionally accredited institution courses may be accepted by Youngstown State University on a case-by-case basis due to a new Ohio Department of Higher Education policy. Credit will not be blanketly posted to the student’s file, but a student may request that courses earned at such institutions be reviewed and evaluated to determine if the course can be accepted and applied to the student’s program of study. Courses may not be evaluated from certain non-regionally accredited institutions if a student applied for loan forgiveness through the U.S. Department of Education. Any courses reviewed will go through the same process as those from regionally accredited institutions, which may require the student to provide additional information on each reviewed course (e.g. course description, syllabus, etc). All approved courses must be a minimum of 1 credit and cannot be developmental. Please refer to the full Ohio Department of Higher Education policy.
  • We offer...

    • Adult Peer Mentors for new adult and veteran students for their first year at YSU
    • A friendly staff of professionals and students
    • Convenient office hours at the Center for Student Progress (Monday 8 am-7 pm, Tuesday - Friday 8 am-5 pm)
    • Assistance with scheduling and registration
    • Academic coaching for current and entering adult students
    • Surveying and assessing adult learner needs and concerns

    Admission with Non-Traditional Credit

    You may be admitted to Youngstown State University with credits from non-traditional educational sources.

    Financial Aid Options

    The first step in applying for Federal Financial Aid for YSU students is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Below is a list of tips and resources to assist with completing the FAFSA:

  • Create an FSA ID 

    If you have already completed applying for aid and have received a financial aid award offer, please see our How to Accept Your Financial Aid Offer guide for completing the acceptance process.


    Special note for mid-year transfer students: If you have a Federal Pell Grant, YSU's six-digit code must be listed as one of your college choices on the FAFSA to have your aid transferred. If not, update your FAFSA to include YSU's code (003145). If you had a Stafford or PLUS loan, you will have to reapply. You will also need to cancel any pending disbursements (if any) on the loan you had at your previous school by contacting your previous school's financial aid office.


    YSU Foundation Scholarship Application:


    The Youngstown State University Foundation (YSUF) is an independent, non-profit organization that distributes resources from privately held funds to support YSU students through scholarships. The YSU Foundation is the designated philanthropic entity of Youngstown State University. Upon completion of the application, students will be considered for a number of YSU Foundation scholarships awarded for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021


    In addition, applicants will also be considered for a number of scholarships awarded through the university, local organizations and private donors. If you are a student enrolled in the Williamson College of Business Administration (WCBA), the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), or the Beeghly College of Education (BCOE), you must complete this application to qualify for scholarships awarded by the college.


    We recommend you continue your search by using the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships' online scholarship search and by checking with your college/department for additional opportunities.


    If selected, you will be notified by letter.


    Note: A completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a requirement of many scholarships.


    Transfer Student Scholarships


    Transfer scholarships are available and offered through the generosity of the YSU Foundation. Transfer students are encouraged to apply early for financial aid and to observe the February 15 deadline for our transfer scholarships. Awards will be prorated if attending part-time (minimum 6 hours required).


    For more details information about transfer scholarships, please visit the Transfer Student webpage.