Pursuing a college education is generally a youthful endeavor reserved for students 35 years of age and under. However, a report based on literature of leading analysts in the field of education shows that older adults, ages 55 to 79 are living longer and pursuing new post secondary goals.
One of them is a career change like enrolling into a college for the first time. But colleges are yet to catch up with the demand for new learning options, especially programs that involve career transitions.
In the past, people worked their whole lives and died before they were able to enjoy their golden years. Today, however, the average retirement age is 62 and with a life expectancy rate of 78. With advances in health care and the growing affluence of older adults, we have a larger number of older adults sincerely pursuing educational endeavors.
Reports reveal that the biggest challenge that older adults face as they attempt to re-enter the arena of higher education, is funding for the educational programs. For those depending on fixed incomes, the financial barriers become extremely difficult. Though some companies do provide tuition reimbursements, many others do not extend the same benefits. Community colleges provide grants for older adults that work and senior fee waiver programs are available at a few colleges and universities in some areas for retired adults.
Sometimes race and ethnicity also prove to be barriers for older adults pursuing higher education. In addition to the above reasons, health issues can also be a major barrier. Fast paced technological changes at various colleges and universities prove to be a barrier for some others who are not abreast of the latest technologies.
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