Schools encourage baby boomers to come back to the classroom
While the traditional college student may be a twenty-something who is leaving home for the first time, more and more institutions are now turning their eye toward retiring baby boomers as prospective students.
Nine community colleges have recently announced that they will be participating in the 50 Plus Completion Strategy, which offers classes specifically for older students who may not have had time to complete a degree while working full-time or raising a family.
The initiative is backed by The Lumina Foundation for Education and will be implemented in schools in a number of states, including Florida, Massachusetts, and California.
Overall, the colleges hope to help 40 percent of applicants successfully obtain a degree of higher education by 2014.
Rosemary Dillon, the dean of health sciences for Cape Cod Community College, recently hosted a career changers conference, where she stressed that boomers who are looking for new careers may want to consider going back to the classroom.
"You’re never too old to learn," adult student Susan Martin said. "I think it keeps you young. It’s been wonderful."
Many retirees agree with Martin - last year, Florida Atlantic University predicted that its Lifelong Learning program had hosted around 13,000 adults, according to The Sun Sentinel. Students there can learn about everything from Broadway composers to gender studies.
Some Del Webb retirement communities such as Del Webb Naples in in Florida have longstanding partnerships with nearby universities. At Naples, residents can attend classes at Ave Maria University, without having to worry about grades this time around. Many students choose to focus on subjects that can help them with their latest ambition - whether that means writing the next great American novel or learning to become a better public speaker. Over 100 courses are offered, so whether you want to brush up on Ancient Greek or learn more about economics, the opportunity is just a registration sheet away.
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In years past, it may have seemed unusual to see scores of older adults heading back to the classroom, but that is no longer the case. Many retirees make lifelong learning a priority once they leave the workforce, and few people are more emblematic of this growing trend than 92-year-old Ruth Elliott.
After retiring, adults have many decisions to make. Do they want to embark on an encore career? Travel? Perhaps they want to volunteer. But one of the most popular options for boomers is heading back to the classroom.
The baby boomer generation has been shaping travel trends for decades, and now as millions of its members are heading toward retirement, it is doing the same thing once again.
Heading back to the classroom has become a popular retirement activity for older adults.