While this year’s crop of college graduates is planning their big move away from campus, a new wave of “non-traditional” students is making their way back to school after decades in the workforce. They’re pursuing second careers, acquiring new skills, and embracing lifelong learning well after age 50.
Judi Hasson, writing for Kiplinger, explored the intellectual and social growth older students achieve. Free from the demands of raising family and climbing the corporate ladder, these adult learners are seizing the opportunity to upgrade their tech knowledge, explore a new passion, and re-engage with their communities.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes offer programs at universities across the country geared towards students 50+. Most of these programs offer learning for the joy of learning, without the pressure of exams and grades. Membership opens doors to volunteer and leadership opportunities, with strong support from the host school.
Post-retirement, programs like the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement engage students ranging in age from 60 to 95. “Retirement is a new experience, a reinvention of self,” says director Leonie Gordon. “People are discovering talents, passions, curiosities they may not have known before.”
Read the full article: Retirees Return to College Just for the Fun of It
Encore.org is dedicated to helping adult learners transition into new roles in the workplace and find opportunities to make a positive social impact. Online education platforms make it possible to offer these programs to students online, on campus, or both. Encore.org’s programs include initiatives at Harvard, Stanford, and The University of Washington.
“The Encore Fellowship is a good program to help people make the transition to an encore career, whether in a nonprofit, creating a new business, or transitioning to a completely different field. It is a noble and worthy endeavor, in my opinion. I think that more and more of us are going to do more and more career switching; we may as well get used to it. I feel engaged, needed, and pretty useful, so I’m glad I’m staying on.” says alum Jim Pullen.
Read more at Encore.org
On After55.com, Mary Beth Adomaitis reports that many states, including California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Minnesota offer reduced tuition for students 60 or older. Those students who aren’t concerned with credits or grades can even audit certain courses for free.
Her article also notes the trend of university-based retirement communities. Housing options include independent living, assisted living, and even long-term care. “Residents become lifelong learners and perpetual students,” Adomaitis writes. Penn State and the University of Florida are pioneers in the movement, which takes multi-generational communities to the next level. Boomers and Millenials share campus amenities like fitness centers, libraries, and sporting events as well as classroom space.
Read the full article: How Seniors Are Returning to College for “Encore” Educations
Image credit: andrew_t8