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The Cost of Living - Adults Returning to School - HowTo.co.uk

(EMAILWIRE.COM, April 05, 2009 ) With prices rising on just about everything, many adults are heading back to school to make more money or to find less physically demanding jobs to stay in the job market longer.

Fran Lehman age 44 is one example of a non-traditional adult student who is working on her two-year degree. She has a family, helps run the family business, works part-time and attends college to find a better job. She struggles to juggle family, work and school.

“Laundry gets done once a week, and it is hard on my family. Some days I go to school from 7:30 a.m. until 2:00 and then then go to work for eight hours,” said Lehman. “Some days I hate it, but I need a better job.”

Non-traditional Students Make Up About 37% of College Population

Lehman is not alone in her college endeavours. About 37% or 6.1 million US college students are non-traditional college-age students, aged 25 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau report School Enrolment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students (October, 2003).

Since the late 1980’s, the percentage of non-traditional students returning to learning has remained almost the same. In addition, these students were more likely to attend part-time, 56% compared to 16% for the traditional student. And, they are more than likely to be women, 56%.

Baby Boomers

Even Baby Boomers are finding additional schooling attractive. In the 2005 MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures: New Face of Work Survey conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International, researchers found that four out of five Baby Boomers age 50-70 intend to keep working beyond the normal retirement age.

Colleges Cater to Non-traditional Students

Many colleges are trying to help non-traditional students like Lehman be successful. Some colleges offer

• Classes online
• Classes after normal business hours
• Degree programs developed specifically for non-traditional students

Many times community colleges offer additional support for their non-traditional students. Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio offers career coaches, childcare on campus and even a program to introduce the students to college life that can be taken for credit.


When Lehman started working 19 years ago, computer skills were not needed to find a good paying office job. She wants to finish her two-year degree so that she can find job security and be a role model for her teenage daughter. Lehman wants her daughter to attend college right after high school.

New self-confidence, increased self-esteem, and intellectual development are benefits that many adults do not think about when returning to college but are very important to be successful in the job market.

As the economy tightens, many older adults are returning to college to make better lives for themselves. It does not matter if a person has grey hair, bifocals or creaky knees; anyone can go back to school to find a better job.

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