The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Average age older, studies indicate

By Alvis Allen/reporter

Are you or is someone you know a working older adult who’s thinking about returning to college to obtain a higher education? If so, you’re in good company.

National statistics point to a growing trend that students in this demographic are pursuing an education for the first time or are returning to school to finish their education.

At TCC, the average age of students is 25.8 and 32 percent are older than that average age with 20.9 percent 31 and older.

Arlisa Findle, a 2002 TCC graduate and a 2004 graduate of the University of North Texas, fits that demographic since she is among the 8.7 percent of TCC students over 40.

“The most difficult thing about returning to school at 45 was the fear of the unknown,” she said.

But, Findle said, having a grown son and a daughter in high school motivated her to set an example.

According to the National Survey of America’s College Students, the majority of college students fall between 25 and 65. This particular group, once considered “nontraditional,” now makes up half of the population of most college campuses.

The number of adults returning to college has increased 72 percent since 1970, according to the National Center of Education Statistics. And, a report published by Worldwidelearn.com shows that working adults are seeking college degrees in record numbers.

The report also indicates about 58 percent of these students taking courses today are financially independent adults 22 and older.

Findle said she believes many adults hesitate to return to school for one reason.

“Most people my age are afraid of the myths,” she said.

Findle said people told her she was too old, and she was worried about finances and balancing work. But she also said the advantages are bigger than the disadvantages for anyone who wants to go back to school.

Findle said maturity helps older students stay more focused and disciplined to complete tasks.

“ If I can do it, anyone can,” she said. “And I no longer have sympathy for people who make excuses for the outcome of their lives.”

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