U. Wisconsin: Baby boomers come back to college
(U-Wire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge)
UWIRE-01/20/2009-U. Wisconsin: Baby boomers come back to college (C)
2008 Badger Herald via UWIRE
By Taylor Cox, Badger Herald (U. Wisconsin)
MADISON, Wis. -- Universities across the nation are seeing an increase
in people from the "baby boom" generation choosing to head back to
school rather than retiring.
"There's definitely a motivation with baby boomers," said Mary Beth
Lakin, associate director for the center of Lifelong Learning at the
American Council on Education.
According to Lakin, adults aged 50 and older now represent 3.8 percent
of U.S. students enrolled in courses at degree-granting colleges and
universities, and that number is increasing.
The growing trend is due to both longevity as well as the recession,
"People are living longer, and they are thinking about what they will
do for the next 30 years," Lakin said. "Also, given our uncertain
economic times, a lot of older adults are thinking of staying in the
work force rather than leaving it at a traditional retirement age."
Lakin added the rush of baby boomers heading back to school are either
looking to stay current in their field, preparing for another field
entirely or are looking to stay connected to a changing and growing
According to Lakin, universities are also becoming more accommodating
to this age group.
"They are offering programs and services to more effectively meet older
adults' changing needs - for example, to find employment, change
careers, start a business or engage in work to help communities," Lakin
Civic Ventures, a group Lakin said encourages older adults to pursue a
higher level of education to rejoin the work force and attain what they
refer to as "encore careers," is one of many organizations targeted at
this specific age group.
However, Jocelyn Milner, director of academic planning and analysis at
the University of Wisconsin, said the average number of students
categorized as "baby boomers" enrolled or taking classes at UW has
stayed the same over the past several years.
"We may see it next year because the downturn in the economy made it
pretty late for students to come back right away," Milner said.
"There's often a year lag in the decision process, so just because we
don't see it this year doesn't mean we won't see it next year."
Judith Strand, director of the adult student services center at UW,
said the university's high tuition is a barrier for adults interested
in going back to school for economical purposes.
However, people age 60 and over can take certain UW courses at no cost,
and Strand said UW is seeing an increase in those numbers.
"We've also been busy with other people coming and talking to us about
making a change and a career transition, but the challenge now is
paying to get back to school," Strand said.
((Distributed on bahalf of U-Wire via M2 Communications Ltd -
((U-Wire - http://www.uwire.com))
Copyright ? 2009 U-Wire
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