Community Blog

6 Reasons Older Adults Should Go To School

By Kaitlyn Erdman

Should older adults continue getting an education?


The answer is simply, YES!

In 2009, students aged 25 and older accounted for roughly 40 percent of all college and graduate students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That figure is expected to rise to 43 percent by 2020 as 9.6 million older students head to campus. Students over age 35, who accounted for 17 percent of all college and graduate students in 2009, are expected to comprise 19 percent of that total by 2020.

But that doesn’t give us a reason as to why older adults should go to school… so why should they?


Never stop learning

There is always something to be learned, and knowledge doesn’t discriminate against age. Going to school to learn something new creates pathways and opportunities to do something more in life.

Social Place

Who says you have to stop making friends when you’re young? Not us! School has always been the hot-spot for making new friends – and that is no different for our older generations. Going to school means getting out of the house, to learn about something new, with people who enjoy the same topics...

Career Advancement

One of the biggest reasons older adults return to school is to help position themselves to advance their careers. Earning a college degree isn't an express ticket to a better job or a promotion, but it can give you the skills, knowledge and the credentials you need to qualify for a higher-level job description. Before pursuing your degree, get an idea of the education level required for your desired industry and job title.

Have a better sense of your goals

Being older, wiser, and more experienced has its advantages, especially when it comes to pursuing a college degree. Older students often say that they know themselves better than they did when they were just out of high school. Putting off going to college, and returning after age 30, can also provide you with a better sense of what you want to study and what you hope to achieve after earning your degree.

Set an example

Going back to college can be tough to juggle with kids, a full-time job, and all other responsibilities that come with adulthood. For many older students, setting a good example for family members and friends is a great inspiration and often what motivates older students to keep moving forward toward their goal.

Better yourself

For many older college students, it’s all about achieving a goal, being educated and finishing what you started. It’s also about enjoying a better quality of life, more pay and less chance of unemployment. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who earned a bachelor’s degree earn 70 percent more than those with a high school diploma alone. Those with a BD also experience half as much unemployment compared to those with only a high school education to recommend them.


It’s never too late to return to school!