Baby Boomers, those of us born between 1946 and 1964, are now 44 to 62 years old. According to the Census Bureau, boomers make up 28% of the population in the U.S. That’s over a quarter of the population, giving them a significant degree of power, economically and culturally. They’re changing the age, and the meaning, of retirement by going back to college and earning new degrees.
With the economy the way it is, how are these older Americans finding the money to go back to school? Some of them are winning scholarships. Gail De Mello, featured on FastWeb in an article by Roxana Hadad is a good example. After raising her kids, Gail got tired of the commute to the professional job she’d had for 30 years. She got a scholarship, a degree, and her dream job.
Boomers today are getting bachelor’s, master’s, even doctoral degrees online. Many schools now have accredited online programs, and according to Jennifer Wegerer in her article for AllOnlineSchools.com, boomers are signing up in record numbers. She calls it unretirement. Good term.
Resources abound on the Internet for finding schools for distance learning. DegreeFinders.com is one of them. They have found that boomers expect to change jobs multiple times in their career, and can’t, or don’t want to, uproot their families every time. With an online degree, they can stay where they are and attend school anywhere they want.
Some boomers are going back to school the old-fashioned way. Brandie Jefferson writes for the Associated Press and the Nashua Telegraph about 50-year-old grandmother, Emma Ferguson, who has a dorm room at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Emma is going to school full-time, on campus, to earn her bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Brandie writes that “older students are more likely to be driven by a desire to help others.”
Baby Boomers are not only getting their degrees, they’re also getting internships. James Krieger, a 53-year-old intern at NuWire, writes a guest blog about his experience at CommonCensus. James not only got a scholarship and a degree, he won an internship and is thrilled. “Starting a new endeavor at 50ish is completely possible,” he says, “as far as getting a college degree anyway.”
At age 56, Susan Winters Finch, chief financial officer of The Winters Group in San Jose, California, is getting her MBA. Ysolt Usigan wrote about her for aol.com in "Baby Boomers in the Classroom." Susan said, “My dream is to formalize my on-the-job business experiences with an MBA.” And that’s exactly what she did.