So Much For No More Pencils And No More Books


Perhaps inspired by the recent recession, millions of adults aged 30 and up are headed back to school. Obviously, these adult students expect their new investment to pay off – but will it? Here’s a look at exactly who is returning to campus for a higher education as well as the possible benefits involved.

Over the last few decades, more and more adults have enrolled in higher education courses. Today, around 5.5 million adults over the age of 30 are enrolled, which is a 322 percent increase since 1970. Of these, 350,000 are aged 55 or older. It’s estimated that, by 2019, 6.12 million will be taking classes, and 1.9 million will be attending college full-time.

Of course, some of the degrees these adult students are after will be more lucrative than others. By 2020, for example, 3.65 million new jobs are expected to open up for those who obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Compare this to 877,000 new jobs that will be created for those with doctoral or professional degrees. Anyone who wants to get a Master’s degree will have to compete for one of only 431,000 new jobs opening up. By 2020, on the other hand, there will be 7.576 million new jobs available for those with a high school diploma or its equivalent.

However, it can’t hurt to get more education – at least not for adults. The average adult college student sees a 22 percent return on his tuition dollars, and this return rate only improves for those studying engineering, IT, business, or nursing. Compare this return rate to the 12 percent that younger, traditional students see.

Luckily for adult students, there are many financing options available through educational organizations and employers. Around 85 percent of employers offer tuition reimbursement, and the American Association of Community Colleges expects to educate around 10,000 baby boomers for new jobs in healthcare, education, and social services via national certificate degree programs.

Big employers who offer tuition reimbursement include Deloitte, which gives up to 10,000 a year, Lockheed Martin, which will pay up to $7,500 a year, and Apple, which gives some employees $5,000 a year. Even Starbucks will put between $500 and $1,000 toward employee tuition.

Back to School: Adults and Higher Education
Source: Back to School: Adults and Higher Education

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