Could a mid-to-late career return to college make sense for you?
It’s essential to evaluate whether this is a financially risky move. In recent years, older Americans have been heading back to school part-time and during evenings in greater numbers than students of typical college age. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollees 25 years of age and older account for 40% of all undergraduate and graduate students – by 2020, that number will rise to 43%.
Statistics proliferate on how much more valuable undergraduate college degrees are than high school diplomas alone – a recent Pew Research Analysis study reported that college graduates aged 25-32 and working full-time earn about $17,500 more a year than employed adults in that age group with only a high school diploma. It’s an indication why college is a fairly clear sell for younger people.
However, for people over 40, there are no similarly clear-cut rewards. That’s why it’s particularly important to do extensive due diligence before returning to college or any other training program. That's doubly true if you can't afford tuition out-of-pocket.
Here are considerations to make before making a mid- or late-career return to the classroom: