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Average Student Age on the Rise

28 August 2009 29,993 views 117 Comments

older_scholarThe average student age in the U.S. has been climbing steadily in recent years.  At both Harvard and Notre Dame the average age is now 27.  The University of Phoenix, which offers both online and traditional degree programs, has an average student age of 35-37.  On a larger scale thirty-eight percent of all college students are now 25 or older, according to a recent U.S Census Bureau report. So why has the average age been trending upward?  There are several factors that have contributed to a more mature scholar.

Cost of Education: It’s no secret the cost of education has soared in recent years at a rate far greater than inflation.  Tuition and fees at private four-year colleges have increased nearly tenfold in the past three decades.  As a result many would-be students are electing to enter the workforce or military beforehand to help pay for their education.

Longer life expectancy: Fifty years ago the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 69.9.  Today that figure is 78.1 (Japan is at 82.1).  Longer life means more time in the workforce, and thus, more education needed to adapt to the changing environment.

Online Option: Online education provides the flexibility needed to make learning possible for adult students who would otherwise be unable to further their education. Of the University of Phoenix’s 400,000 students enrolled, 300,000 are online degree seekers.

More Grads: A graduate degree today is equivalent to a bachelors degree yesterday.  The growing need for an MBA to help career advancement has led many back to the classroom.  And when you consider the U.S. population is over 300 million that’s a whole lot of students knocking on that graduate door.

Baby Boomer Effect: With 401K plans devalued and social security only paying a fraction of the cost of living many baby boomers are in need of an educational overhaul.  Versatility is the name of the game these days, and having a broad set of skill sets is required to secure and maintain employment.

Unemployment Benefits:  With the unemployment rate at 9.4%, the highest it’s been in twenty-six years, more people are taking refuge in the classroom.  The Workforce Investment Act, which is a government-funded program with the goal of providing adults with the money needed for the education, skills, and training they need to get and retain jobs, is being utilized more than ever before.

So if you’re feeling like you’re too old to go back to school, think again, the numbers are actually in your favor. So put down those oatmeal cookies and join me.  I’ll even save a seat for ya.

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117 Responses to “Average Student Age on the Rise”

  1. Iniobong says on September 27, 2012 at 9:59 am:

    It’s a clear fact that adults between ages of 20-40 has more life experiences, matured brains, better IQs, descipline and really understands the value of education hence can learn perfectly and are able to understand and apply what they learnt. Thats is why most inventors, economist, authors and other famous professionals are older people with gray hairs so i think education at older age is of a great advantage and i’m personally planning on taking a second degree in physics when at 40. Its never too late to be a student !!!

  2. Mielczarek says on September 18, 2012 at 3:49 am:

    Agree, but I don’t really think it’s a problem. Why hurry so much to get an education and start working for the man?

    My advice is to wait a bit, have fun, travel, start a business, etc. – and then worry about an education!

  3. Thankful for what? 1 in 3 Americans now living in or near poverty? - Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Third Parties, Left-Wing, Right-Wing, Congress, President - Page 8 - City-Data Forum says on November 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm:

    [...] college student now is 28 years of age. I looked it up and found this but it's almost 3 years ago: Average Student Age on the Rise | Online Education Blog The average student age in the U.S. has been climbing steadily in recent years. At both Harvard [...]

  4. rich Es says on August 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm:

    This is really helpful, i can not wait to start college as soon as i can.!!

  5. Student of IT says on February 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm:

    I am 36, I go to Kaplan University Online (which I started in Sept. 2010) and I have learned a lot. First and foremost, I learned to write formally, next term in March 11, I will be going into Survey of Math. So far it is all good. Just remember everyone no matter what school you go to, keep on top of Financial Aid. I keep on top of them all the time at the end of each term to make sure next term is paid for. Never assume that they will do as they say. Make sure you get names of the officers, and if you are not satisfied with with department then talk to the head of that department, if that does no good then go up the chain of command.

    I had to fight financial aid for over a month over the Pell side in the first month. THEY messed up and had to manually request the Pell distribution. This term I had to contact them about my distributions I had a hell of a time getting a straight answer. When I did, it happened as I was told, next term it should happen the same way. If it does then I should not have any problems. Match is the end of my first AY and I am going to my Sophomore year May 2011. I am hoping the renew of the PELL and incoming loans will be smooth.

    Oh BTW if you want to try out Kaplan for 5 weeks for $45.00 without any further obligation you can do so.

  6. Aging: What It Means for Women to Turn 30 In 2011 « : Blisstree - Serious Health and Wellness – Injected With Humor says on January 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm:

    [...] you’re never too old to be a student. In 2009, the average age of a Notre Dame and Harvard attendee was 27, and the average age of online students at The University of Phoenix was between 35 and 37 years [...]

  7. Mixed Martial Arts says on December 6, 2010 at 5:38 pm:

    The average student age will continue to rise, especially in the business and medical fields.

  8. Essays says on December 1, 2010 at 7:53 am:

    The Average Student Age on the Rising is US now a days, it is not an average of 27 and i think that this is not good because it was used to be less then this before.

  9. Essays says on November 25, 2010 at 7:19 am:

    I think that’s really awesome that employers are beginning to look at them like traditional diplomas, because Im sure you have to put a lot of work online as well and some people cannot go to the actual universities so I am sure that is ery helpful to them.

  10. Michael says on October 9, 2010 at 3:41 am:

    I think no matters about age of students. Older or younger no problem at all. the most important think is they have to be able to finish their study at normal time and keep good name of their college.

  11. Nadia says on September 9, 2010 at 3:53 am:

    This site should help you with sutudent loans debt consolidation

  12. lawrence says on December 29, 2009 at 5:55 am:

    i think it’s good because people needs educations.

  13. Betty says on December 28, 2009 at 8:26 pm:

    lol. I am one of those ‘older’ students – I will graduate Dec 2010 & will be 58 years old.
    My advise to all high school students & graduates – get your college education while you are young. It is much harder the older you are – trust me!
    I had 1 semester of college 2 yrs after High School & worked my xxx off while learning on the job BUT I could have have so much more money IF I had received a college diploma – even though I would have had to obtain college loans.
    But I am so thankful that I am now able to attend college.

  14. naomi says on December 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm:

    true, it is good to go back and reeducate yourself. And university of pheonix offer a lot.

  15. Brandy says on December 21, 2009 at 9:36 pm:

    I think it’s a good thing to go back and reeducate yourself.

  16. Angel says on December 21, 2009 at 1:06 pm:

    People need to go back to school, it’s making them smarter

  17. Tara Fenn says on December 19, 2009 at 12:26 pm:

    Because of financial obligations and having children at an earlier age gives the opportunity to these types of people at a later age.

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