When we think of college, we can often think of young people at the cusp of late teen years and early adulthood. With many lifestyle changes happening today, more and more adults are going back to college or even starting school in later adulthood. This means older students who often have full-time jobs, life experience, and even children of their own are attending college. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, as of March 2018, more than one-third of college students are currently over 25 years of age. With such an increase in numbers, more and more colleges and universities are providing resources for older students.
The Primary Concern of Cost
College and financial aid tend to go hand in hand. For many older college students past the “traditional” college age of 18-22, resources such as parents or high school scholarships like Bright Futures are not available to them. Fortunately, there are many other financial options out there for non-traditional students. For older college students who work, many companies offer full or partial tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of their courses. Some states offer state scholarships for non-traditional students. Loans are another option, and some lenders offer flexible payment plans for students.
Fitting College into a Busy Schedule
Returning students or students beginning college may feel some apprehension balancing busy lives with academic workloads. For older students with established jobs, careers, families, and other commitments, they may feel they don’t have adequate time for college and might ask younger students to help them with their homework. With this in mind, many colleges and universities have created supportive programs and assistance specifically geared toward these students. More institutions offer night courses for those who have full-time jobs as well. Some schools even have weekend options and most offer online courses. Online classes can be very effective and offer useful tools for students including webcasts, tutorials, and discussion boards.
Life as an older college student can be fulfilling and exciting. Aside from the normal concerns such as time and cost; college has many benefits. From those seeking to expand their education and land a more promising career, to those starting out for the first time ten or twenty years past the “traditional” age of college students, the benefits of attending school are significant. Older students can pace themselves while they are in college. Unlike their younger peers, older students may be established enough that they can take fewer courses at a time and still work toward their degree at a more suitable pace (Lumina).
Having passed the traditional college age, many older college students are actually able to appreciate, truly absorb, and instantly apply their college knowledge to their lives, which can make the journey even more rewarding. With more and more students either returning or beginning college later in life, a new wave of experienced and professional students is emerging. There is such a bright turnout and many agree that it is never too late to go to college.
If you do decide to go back to college, know that GradGuard has you covered with both insurance and all your need-to-know hacks.
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