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Lifelong Learning

Growing number of adults head to seminary school after retirement

A large swath of baby boomers grew up in the middle of the civil rights and other social movements, so it may come as no surprise that many of them are looking to spur social change once again during their second act. A growing number of adults are taking seminary classes as a way to give back to the community after they've retired, Texas CBS affiliate KYTX reports.

Reverend Chip Aldridge works at the Wesley Theological Seminary as the admissions director and has noticed an increase in the amount of boomers signing up for classes. He says that as many adults in the generation reach retirement age they have also reached a level of financial security that allows them to pursue something they may not have previously been able to.

Among those who decided to enroll was Leah Daughtry. While she continued to work at her day job, she took classes at the school at night because she felt like she could not sit back and have a passive retirement,. She told the news outlet that she feels like she's not alone.

"I don't think we're people who check out," she told the news channel about her fellow boomers. "There's something in our ethos that craves involvement in the world - in the world around us with people. It's where we get our spirit and our energy from."

Whether seminary school or a secular college, lifelong learning has been a popular option for boomers entering retirement for quite some time. In 2007, more than one-third of students pursuing an associate's degree or higher were above 25 and according to The Boston Globe, experts believe that the figure could rise by as much as 20 percent by 2017.

In addition to there being a growing number of older students going back to school, there are also certain programs that are specifically-tailored for the adult population. Among them is the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at Vanderbilt. What's unique about the program is that the classes, which can be on anything from architecture to taxes, are taken not for credit but for the simple enjoyment of learning.

Another similar program is available to homeowners at Sun City Anthem. Residents at the Florence, Arizona, retirement community can enroll in the Arizona State University Lifelong Learning Academy to whet their intellectual curiosity. 

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