It’s Never too Late to Go Back to School
By Leah Lancione
Now that Summer has come to a close and students are back in school you may be thinking fondly of your days spent in academia. On the other hand, maybe you never went to college and always wished you had. Well, it’s never too late to go to school. Face it, you’re retired, the kids are grown and you have some extra time on your hands, so why not take advantage of the scholastic opportunities that abound for baby boomers?
U.S. News & World Report reports that colleges and universities are embracing retired folks in their classrooms. “Around the country, baby boomers are streaming back to school. The number of college students ages 40 to 64 has jumped by almost 20 percent to nearly 2 million in the past decade. And those numbers are expected to keep growing.”
Today, people in the third chapter of their lives are buying into stimulating their brain and remaining active to thwart aging.
It’s a chance to either build on the knowledge you gained throughout your career or to explore a new subject altogether. If you want to pick up a language for your travels, study classic literature or history or even to pursue a degree for a new career path, there’s both credit and noncredit classes to meet your needs. Think about all the options available: online learning, studying abroad or taking nighttime classes so you can still keep your normal routine, whether that includes volunteering, a part-time job, participating in a club or sport or watching your grandkids.
If you’re worried about affording it now that you and/or your spouse aren’t working full time, you’ll be happy to know that Fox Business (www.foxbusiness.com) reports, “Older students might be more likely to get more federal aid compared to their younger counterparts to fund their education. According to FinAid, students age 24 and above are considered independent and eligible for increased unsubsidized Stafford loan limits.” In addition to federal grants and scholarships, all students—no matter their age—are eligible for federal aid, and can fill out a free application at www.fafsa.edu.gov
Right in your own backyard is Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), which offers senior adult courses at a reduced price in conjunction with local senior centers. “Designed to improve skills, sharpen your mind and enhance your quality of life, courses include computer technology, history, healthy living and more.” Checkout AACC’s Center on Aging (www.aacc.edu/aging) or call 410.777.1319.
The University of Maryland College Park offers a “Golden Identification Card” Program that enables eligible senior citizens to take part in the wide selection of classes. Eligibility requirements include being 60 or older, a legal Maryland resident and retired (not engaged in gainful employment for more than 20 hours per week). For more information, visit the Office of the Registrar webpage at http://registrar.umd.edu/current/registration/golden-id.html
On the Eastern Shore Chesapeake College (www.chesapeake.edu/continuing%5Fed/ial/) and Washington College (www.Washcoll.edu/offices/wc-all/administration.php) both offer senior friendly classes. And if that isn’t adventure enough there’s always a semester at sea found at www.semesteratsea.org/discover-sas/signature-programs/lifelong-learning-programs
In addition to the extensive variety of formal classes, colleges also offer senior citizens courses like watercolor painting, cooking or sewing that will cultivate their already-burgeoning passions or introduce them new hobbies. The courses will also provide you with opportunities to socialize with like-minded peers.
What are you waiting for? Go register for next semester!