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The editors at Top 10 Online Colleges decided to research the topic of:
Back to School: Adults and Higher EducationThanks in part to the recent recession, millions of workers are returning to college or graduate school to further their education and seek additional training. Who's going back and will their investment pay off?
Who's Going Back?
- College enrollment of adults 30 and older has surged in the past few decades and will continue rising, according to expert projections.
- Adults 30 and older enrolled in higher education, a 322% increase since 1970
Adults 30 and older enrolled by year
- Year - Enrollment - Full time - Part time
- 1970 - 1310000 - 234000 - 1077000
- 1980 - 2664000 - 433000 - 2050000
- 1990 - 3806000 - 858000 - 2947000
- 2000 - 4030000 - 1023000 - 3009000
- 2001 - 4123000 - 1076000 - 3047000
- 2002 - 4312000 - 1199000 - 3112000
- 2003 - 4334000 - 1230000 - 3105000
- 2004 - 4376000 - 1328000 - 3049000
- 2005 - 4460000 - 1361000 - 3101000
- 2006 - 4449000 - 1345000 - 3103000
- 2007 - 4513000 - 1333000 - 3179000
- 2008 - 4673000 - 1344000 - 3329000
- 2009 - 5539000 - 1607000 - 3932000
- 2010 - 5002000 - 1496000 - 3505000
- 2014 - 5398000 - 1650000 - 3748000
- 2019 - 6124000 - 1905000 - 4219000
- People 55 and older enrolled in colleges and universities
Where Will the Jobs Be?
The number of people seeking advanced degrees is expected to see the largest increase among all educational pursuits by 2020. But some degrees will be more valuable than others in the long run.
Percent change in employment, by education category, 2010-20
- Doctoral or professional degree - 20%
- Master's degree - 22%
- Bachelor's degree - 17%
- Associate degree - 18%
- Postsecondary non-degree award - 17%
- Some college, no degree - 18%
- High school diploma or equivalent - 12%
- Less than high school - 14%
Will it pay off?
New jobs, by education category, 2010-20
- Doctoral or professional degree - 877,000
- Master's degree - 431,000
- Bachelor's degree - 3,656,000
- Associate degree - 1,440,000
- Postsecondary non-degree award - 1,101,000
- Some college, no degree - 142,000
- High school diploma or equivalent - 7,576,000
- Less than high school - 5,246,000
Does it Really Pay Off?
Whether seeking additional education will pay off directly in increased earnings depends largely on the jobs and education workers pursue, but the bottom line is it probably can't hurt.
22%Average return on tuition dollars for adults who have a job while enrolled in college
12%Average return for traditional students
Return on investment for non-traditional students by subject area
- Engineering - 53%
- IT - 49%
- Business - 43%
- Nursing - 36%
Paying for Education
With the cost of college soaring seemingly out of control, non-traditional students are in the same boat as younger students when it comes to paying for their education. But educational organizations and employers are viable options for workers who want to return to school but find they can't afford it.
- Baby boomers expected to be trained for new jobs in education, healthcare and social services thanks to national certificate and degree programs planned by members of the American Association of Community Colleges
- Employers that offer tuition reimbursement programs
Companies that offer tuition programs:
- Deloitte: Offers up to $10,000 a year.
- Lockheed Martin: Lockheed will reimburse up to $7,500 a year of your tuition.
- Apple: Up to $5,000 a year to some of its employees.
- McAfee: Will reimburse $5,250 worth of tuition per calendar year.
- Raytheon: Full-time employees can receive up to $10,000 per year.
- Starbucks: Between $500 and $1,000 to put toward tuition.
- Home Depot: Will reimburse about half the cost of tuition, up to $2500 a year.
10%Maximum recommended ratio of gross income devoted to student loan payments