Colorado Christian University’s College of Adult & Graduate Studies has seen thousands of non-traditional students graduate with various degree programs later in life. Long gone are the days that college students were only kids fresh out of high school. Older students are realizing that it’s never too late to get a degree, and with the convenience of evening and weekend classes and online degree programs, you can start a degree any time in your life. We have students start their degree program in their forties, fifties and even their sixties, so if you think you’re too old to go to college, just ask some of our graduates what a wonderfully exciting undertaking pursuing a college degree is later in life.
West Liberty University, a small university in West Liberty, WV, held its commencement in December 2012, graduating a class of only 133 students; Gloria J. Coffman was the school’s valedictorian and delivered her address to fellow classmates and their families, faculty and staff and other distinguished guests. Gloria earned a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership and Administration and now works in Wheeling, WV in Cardinal Health as an inventory manager. Here is an excerpt of Gloria’s address to West Liberty University:
“Education is extremely important whether you are 18 or 48. It is never too late to continue your studies. As an adult student with a family and a full time job, completing my degree was important to me; I looked at several colleges for a program that would enable me to complete a bachelor’s degree with a schedule that would fit in to my life and work. WLU was one I looked to because of its reputation, but getting a schedule that would fit into my life was a concern. When I saw WLU was offering classes at the new Highlands Center I called and found out programs being offered there that would enable me to complete my bachelor’s degree and the classes were structured towards my work responsibilities. Dr. Thomas Michaud has enlisted an amazing staff including professors from many areas.”
Considering a College Degree? How to Begin
First, you must determine which degree you are interested in pursuing based on your interests and what you would like to do in the future. Most adults go back to school because they want to have better jobs upon graduation or they want to make a career switch. Make sure that the program you’ll be enrolling in will lead to the job you really want.
There is financial aid available for non-traditional college students. You can apply for scholarships and grants which do not require repayment. You can also opt for work-study which is a part-time program so that you can earn money while studying. You can also avail yourself of federal loans or private student loans for your cost of attendance (i.e. tuition fees, room and food expenses, transportation, and other related expenses).
To apply for a federal loan, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You also need your social security number and driver’s license. The other supporting documents you need are W-2 forms or other proof of income and federal income tax return. If you’re married, you can also include your spouse’s income documents.It will also be helpful if you declare records of other untaxed income you received, such as welfare benefits, TANF, veteran’s benefits, military or clergy allowances, and social security benefits. You must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to qualify for financial aid.
Do not let your age prevent you from getting a college degree; you can get a degree at 18 or 58! There are people who can assist you from the time you enroll up to the time you graduate. With a college degree you have greater chances of getting a better job and providing a brighter future for you and your family.