Baby Boomers Go Back to School

John Halley, 59, is one of many baby boomers in the country who have chosen to return to the classroom later in life in an effort to earn a degree and secure a job, usually after being laid off due to closures or downsizing.  When Halley lost his job in 2010, he quickly realized he had two choices: go back to school, or remain unemployed. Like Halley, many men and women his age are finding that a struggling economy and shortage of available jobs means that applicants need the proper education in order to get re-hired. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of students ages 50-64 increased 17% nationwide between the fall of 2007 and the fall of 2009.


The majority of these older non-traditional students elect to attend community colleges and technical schools, which could explain the 60% increase in students over 50 at both Clarke State Community College and Cincinnati State Technical Community College since 2007. “One of the things we started doing was catering to that population 50 and over,” said Corey Holliday, director of admissions at Clark State. “Today, the baby boomers are the biggest growth area for our campuses across the state.”


We can only imagine the challenges these baby boomers face in returning to the classroom after 30, 40, even 50 years. Not only is there an entirely new set of technology tools they’ll need to become familiar with, but they’ll also have to get used to spending time with college students 30+ years their junior. What’s more, money is tight for many of these baby boomers, having been recently laid off. And as any current student knows, college, though well worth it, can often be quite expensive.


Fortunately, DSST can help alleviate many of these challenges. Baby boomers who take advantage of DSST exams (formerly known as DANTES exams) when returning to school can benefit from cheaper education costs and less time spent in the classroom. With DSST, non-traditional students can earn college credits in 38 unique subjects for just $80 (plus a sitting fee). Plus DSST exams allow students to complete a semester’s worth of credits in just a single sitting. The job market may not be great, but that doesn’t mean that baby boomers shouldn’t have the same opportunities to earn a degree and re-start their career.

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