Commuting students are defined as those who do not reside in institution-owned housing on college and university campuses. Commuters make up more than 85 percent of today’s college students.

Their numbers include students of traditional age who live with their parents, those who live in rental housing near campus, adults with full-time jobs and parents living with their own children.

Jacoby Consulting in 2020 reported that 41 percent of commuter students are 25 years of age or older, and 39 percent attend school on a part-time basis. As many as 70 percent of full-time students work while enrolled in college, as do most part-time students.

Those characteristics continue to apply to commuter students in this COVID-disrupted year of 2021.

Commuting to campus during one’s freshman year might make attending college possible for local students when combined with Wilmington College’s Clinton County Succeeds program.

This opportunity is a proven success and has made a huge difference in helping area students afford a quality education. Students in this program can receive as much as $10,000 in loans that are completely forgiven upon their graduation from WC.

A student’s eligibility for entrance to the Clinton County Succeeds program is determined by simply completing the standard FAPSA form. These special grants are available to eligible local students who recently graduated from schools in Clinton County and transfer students from Southern State Community College.

Awards range up to four academic years equal to eight semesters starting as a freshman and, for transfer students, up to two years (four semesters). Clinton County Succeeds is open to both commuters and those wishing to be residential students.

Commuter students can create a robust campus experience through participation in sports and organizations, along with taking advantage special cultural programming and service opportunities.

Wilmington College offers local students a great deal of flexibility in applying for the fall 2021 semester by extending its normal deadlines. This allows this year’s high school seniors an opportunity to focus on proms, award ceremonies, spring sports, applying for summer work and, of course, graduation.

Information on Clinton County Succeeds is available on WC’s website at

Congratulations, Class of 2021. Wilmington College now offers you an invitation to join our incoming class so we can RISE together.

Dennis M. Kelly, a nationally known enrollment administrator, has been presenting columns in the Wilmington News Journal on navigating the college search process as a service to local families. Kelly is the senior vice president for enrollment management at Wilmington College.

Dennis Kelly

Contributing columnist