The number of older people returning to college is increasing each year. It is expected that by 2020, 43 percent of college students will be 25 or older while 19 percent will be 35 or older. There are many reasons for the increase in older students on college campuses.
The growth of online college degrees is one explanation for the increase in older students as online programs make it easier to fit college into a busy lifestyle. However, enrollment is also growing on traditional college campuses and there are many reasons why more people are realizing that it is never too late to go back to school for a degree.
Certain industries are expected to grow much faster than others over the next decade. For example, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created a significant number of healthcare positions that did not exist in the past as well as increasing the use of technology in the medical profession.
Many careers in healthcare now require a college education, such as an online health administration master’s to become a healthcare administrator. Older adults who may have been in the workforce for a long time may find that they must improve their skills in order to keep their job or to advance in their career, whether it is in healthcare or another expanding industry. Therefore, enrolling in college can help them secure their future in their current industry or allow them to move up in a career they have held for some time.
Another benefit to returning to school is to create better economic security for your family. Individuals who hold an associate’s degree earn 27 percent more than those with a high school diploma, while those who hold a bachelor’s degree earn 60 percent more. There are many options available that can help cover the cost of a college education as well. Most colleges offer financial aid packages to students, even adults, in order to help them offset costs. There are many scholarships and grants available for adults, especially single parents, who want to create a better economic future for themselves and their family.
Better Employment Options
Research indicates that people who hold college diplomas find employment more quickly than those with a high school diploma, even if the job does not require a college degree. Not only do college graduates have an easier time becoming employed, they remain employed at a higher rate than people with only a high school diploma. Approximately 77 percent of those with an associate’s degree are employed while 82 percent of bachelor’s degree holders have jobs.
Many people are discovering the benefits of a second career. Retirees are now leaving the workforce at a younger age, unlike generations of the past who remained in the workforce into their 70s. However, once they have retired, some older people find that they have too much time on their hands. Returning to college can provide them with new skills that can lead to a second, even more rewarding career than their first career.
Going back to college provides significant benefits and people are choosing to go back to school at older ages than ever before. Returning to school can improve earning capacity, increase job security and lead to advancement in a current career or help adults move into better careers.