The Growing Trend of Adults Returning to College

Adults wanting to go back to school to enhance their education are faced with other challenges. Most are raising families or working other jobs.

The Growing Trend of Adults Returning to CollegeContributed by: Preston Van Dyke

Colleges have seen a growing trend of adults returning to college over the last decade. Whether it is because of economic instability or because most of the new jobs being created require a degree, no one is certain. However, many adults over the age of 25 are finding their way back to school to get a degree or finish the one they never got around to completing.

The increase in college-bound adult students has caused many universities to start new programs. Colleges and universities are now offering more mature students re-entry programs so they can transition to college life easily, as well as offering them flexible classes, weekend classes, childcare services and even accelerated degree programs. Even adults that cannot attend a traditional college or university are finding that online degree programs fit their needs much better. These programs are already being widely accepted by most employers. Even traditional colleges and universities are offering several online programs for the working adult to attend and graduate.

According to an American Council on Education study, demographics play a large role in adults deciding to go back to college. The study also revealed that more women than men are returning to school. This trend is expected to grow through the year 2030.

Many are wondering what is causing this trend to grow more rapidly than it has before. There is a variety of reasons given by the American Council on Education. Enhancement of current skills, being more knowledgeable to make a person more sociable and intellectual stimulation are the most common reason being given by adult students. However, other studies show that adults are working longer, living longer and want to increase their income more than ever before.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median income level as it pertains to educational level. These statistics are also playing a major role in adults deciding to go back to college. For example, a person with just a high school diploma makes a median weekly income of $626, while a person with an associate degree makes an average of $767 a week. The increase in weekly salary increases as the education level increases. People with a bachelor’s degree make a weekly median income of $1,038, a person with a master’s degree makes $1,272 and people with a professional degree, or doctorate degree make the most, with an average of as much as $1,610 a week.

Adults going back to school for just an associate degree can make more than $400,000 more dollars over the course of their working life. These statistics are not being ignored by adults. More and more are deciding to go back to get their degree for this very reason.

However, adults wanting to go back to school to enhance their education are faced with other challenges. Most are raising families or working other jobs. That is why more colleges and universities than ever before are starting these new programs and attempting to tap into this new base of college students. Colleges are even expanding their online programs to work with those adults that cannot attend traditional colleges.

These adults must make sacrifices to further their education, but, as mentioned earlier, colleges and universities are doing much to help them. The federal government is also stepping in to make it easier for an adult to return to school. Several government grants and financial aid are being made available to these adult students and college admissions offices are helping the adult student tap into these funds.

The American Council of Education is stating that adult students are giving up overtime hours to attend a college degree program, as well as putting in longer hours after work to study. Even though this places a burden on the family, adult students know that it will only last for a short period. Women that are found going back to school later in life are working through the colleges to find babysitting services or asking family members to look after their young children. Other adult students are waiting until their children get older before returning to school to get a degree or finish a degree.

No matter what the reason or what sacrifices these adult students are making, the trend seems to continue. Even retired adults with grown children are beginning to realize that furthering their education is important, if for no other reason than to fulfill their dream of attaining a degree and expanding their knowledge. Because of this fact, colleges and universities will continue to expand their services for this demographic.

This guest post provided by Bellevue University, the largest private university in Nebraska with more than 9000 students around the world enrolled in its award-winning bachelors, masters and doctorate degree programs. Visit the website for information in programs varying from business degrees to criminal justice.

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