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The Benefits of Adult Education

Adults are returning to school in record numbers.

The Benefits of Adult Education

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Whether the end result is to advance at work, make a career move, or simply learn about a fascinating new topic, statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show that adult students are the fastest growing educational demographic, with the numbers steadily increasing. In 1970, 28 percent of all college students were 25 years of age or older. In 1998 the number of adult learners had increased to 41 percent. The Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE) reports that students who are over 25 make up as much as 47 percent of the new and returning student population on many of today’s college campuses.

Many colleges and universities are making it convenient for adults to return to school through distance learning opportunities, night and weekend classes, and entrepreneurial programs that fit their unique needs.


 
  Argosy University

About us: Argosy University reaches beyond traditional academics with a personalized approach designed to nurture the human side of success. Their Twin Cities Campus offers a total of 18 graduate and undergraduate degree programs allowing students to pursue bachelors and graduate degrees in the College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, as well as the College of Business; graduate degrees in the College of Education; and associates and masters degrees in the College of Health Sciences.

Is there anything in particular you would like to highlight? Located in Eagan, the Twin Cities campus is part of Argosy University’s nationwide network of 18 campuses. Situated in a park-like setting, the campus is conveniently located within 10 miles of the airport and Mall of America. Students are close to many local shops and restaurants, as well as area housing.

What do you offer the adult student? Most degree programs are offered in a unique blend of on-campus and online instruction. Students can also choose to take many courses in these programs in fully online formats. Day, evening, and weekend classes provide another level of flexibility in many programs.


Augsburg College

What advice do you have for those concerned about balancing school, work, and family obligations? You are not alone. Many adults who are balancing school, work and family obligations return to school. Connect with others who have similar situations and get ready to succeed together!

What percentage of your students are nontraditional/adult learners? Approximately 50 percent of the student population is enrolled in the Augsburg for Adults programs at the main campus in Minneapolis, the Rochester Minnesota campus, and through the United Hospital program for undergraduate degrees. Adult students are enrolled in graduate programs including Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Leadership, Master of Social Work, Master of Arts in Education, and Master of Arts in Nursing.

What programs are most popular with your adult student population? Some popular majors for adults include business related programs (i.e., business administration, management), accounting, communication, education, psychology, management information systems and nursing, among many others. Augsburg College offers approximately 17 undergraduate majors for adults to choose from on a convenient weekend and evening schedule, along with five graduate programs with schedules designed for working adults.


The College of St. Catherine

What percentage of your students are nontraditional/adult students? 27.1 percent of all students at St. Kate’s are enrolled in graduate programs. Approximately 17 percent are enrolled in Weekend College.

What are the benefits of going back to school as an adult? St. Kate’s students bring a wealth of professional work experience in a variety of businesses and organizations. They learn from and challenge one another as they compare approaches, visions and priorities, and the intricacies of effective, ethical and enduring leadership.

Is there anything in particular you’d like to highlight? The College of St. Catherine launched the first interdisciplinary masters degree in leadership in the country in 1986. Integrating ethics and leadership throughout the curriculum, the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership degree offers core managerial competencies such as strategic management, marketing, accounting and finance in conjunction with leadership skills such as strategic communication, leading organizational change, professional and organizational ethics, and management of a diverse workforce.  As opposed to the “one size fits all” MBA, the MAOL degree allows for customization with concentrations in Strategic Management, Accountancy, Dispute Resolution, Information Services and Technology, Ethics and Leadership, Healthcare Leadership, or Spirituality and Leadership.


Globe University/Minnesota School of Business

What percentage of your students are nontraditional/adult students? 75 percent

Why do you think there’s a growing number of adults returning to school? Careers are changing rapidly because of technology, therefore re-training and additional education is needed for most jobs. Management opportunities are beginning to present themselves as Baby Boomers retire.

What advice do you have for those concerned about balancing school, work, and family obligations? It never gets any easier; if you need the education, get to it. Look at part-time and online options, possibly start with a class that will apply to a current need. 

What specific programs at Globe University/Minnesota School of Business are most popular with adult learners? Business programs, software and computer applications, management, and health care.

Do you offer college credit for life experience? Yes. We grant credit for work experience as well as prior learning obtained outside of the traditional classroom.



Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

What percentage of your students are nontraditional/adult students? Saint Mary’s Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs’ main focus is on the adult learner and providing personal,
ethical, professional and innovative education.

What tips do you have for adult learners? Follow your degree plan and seek out academic advising, attend class and come willing to learn, be considerate of your classmates and instructors, keep up with assignments and form/join study groups, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

What specific programs are most popular with adult learners? Saint Mary’s Graduate School of Education is the largest in terms of learners and the Graduate School of Business and Technology offers programs that are popular with adult learners, such as the M.S. in Project Management and the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

Do you offer college credit for life experience? The School of Professional Programs, offering Bachelor of Science completion programs, offers the opportunity to take the valuable life experiences that adults have and apply them as part of the degree credits.

Twin Cities Adult Education Alliance

About us: The Twin Cities Adult Education Alliance is a consortium of colleges and universities in the Twin Cities metro area that have come together to share adult education options with working adults and employers in the area. Our goal is to provide a “one stop shop” for employers who want to encourage the growth of their employees and for working adults who are thinking about going back to school but don’t know where to begin.

What advice do you have for adults concerned about balancing school, work, and family obligations? If you are committed to furthering your education, you can make it happen. It will require determination and sacrifice, but many adults with work and family obligations manage to fit it in. Adult students find a way to maximize their time to fit school into their life.

What tips do you have for those thinking about returning to school? Find a school that is going to help you finish and a school that honors the work/family/life balance. Find a school that has a solid reputation and a school that fits your values and goals.



University of St. Thomas

What are the benefits of going back to school as an adult? Adults often have strong critical thinking skills and can place new learning in the context of lived experiences. They often have advanced skills in balancing responsibilities and can plan and implement multiple tasks. The maturity of adult learners is beneficial in classroom discussions, practicum experiences, and internships.

What advice do you have for those concerned about balancing school, work and family obligations? Start with a light course load and rebuild study, writing, and test taking skills. Connect with small peer learning communities, which may include the guidance and support of other experienced adult learners. Keep family members apprised of academic responsibilities, and schedule time to spend with each of them. Manage all responsibilities with a clear schedule.

What percentage of your students are nontraditional/adult students? From the Enrolled Student Profile (Institutional Research & Analysis, UST): 43 percent of all enrolled St. Thomas students are 25 years or older (6 percent of all undergrads, and 91 percent of all graduate students).



University of Wisconsin-Stout

What percentage of your students are nontraditional/adult students? In our distance education programs, we are approximately 95 percent nontraditional/adult.

What specific programs are most popular with adult learners? The BS in Management and BS in Information and Communication Technologies programs utilize technical college credits and apply them directly to the program. There are several Master’s Degree programs via online and distance education which have become very popular, including MS Training & Development, MS Technology Management, MS Information and Communication Technologies, and MS Manufacturing Engineering.

Do you offer college credit for life experience?  Yes. An assessment of prior learning/portfolio options is available for many of our programs. Applying to this degree is an excellent option for students with a lot of work experience.

What advice do you have for those concerned about balancing school, work, and family obligations? Start off slow and get your feet wet before jumping into the pool. Success rates directly reflect this behavior – those who jump in too quickly often end up burning themselves out. This can have a truly negative physical and financial effect.



Selecting a Program

Whatever it was that pushed you to make the decision to return to school, congratulations on your decision to re-enter the academic world. 

In order to create a plan of action, you need to know the different types of learning that exist:

Accreditation
Accreditation is an evaluation process through which a school or program is examined by a peer review board to determine if certain standards are met. If they pass the inspection and review, their program/school is more reputable in the eyes of employers and recruiters. However, not all schools need accreditation. Some schools offer specialty-training programs in technical and art fields that don’t
fall under the traditional process of accreditation.

Certificate or Degree?
The major difference between a certificate and a degree is that a certificate is typically granted to students who have completed fewer course credits than those required for a degree. Many times a certificate is considered a stepping-stone to a degree.

What is distance learning?
Distance learning refers to courses with components that can be completed without physically going to a bricks-and-mortar institution. Lectures may come in the form of multimedia presentations or chat rooms, and lessons may be completed online, from the comfort of home.

Do your research
There are a lot of programs out there – do your research and find what’s right for you. If a school doesn’t fit your needs, keep looking. Be tenacious and you’ll eventually find the perfect fit.



Resource Guide

Argosy University
locations across the U.S.; a variety of degree programs online
800-377-0617/ www.argosy.edu/

Augsburg College
612-330-1000/ www.augsburg.edu

The College of St. Catherine
St. Paul Campus - 651-690-6000/ 800-945-4599
Minneapolis Campus- 651-690-7700/ 800-945-4599
www.stkate.edu

Globe University/Minnesota School of Business
Eight campus locations and two student resource center locations
MSB Online Division – 877-609-8889/ www.msbcollege.edu

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Programs
Offered at SMU’s Twin Cities, Winona and Nairobi campuses and Rochester center, with courses offered in Apple Valley and approximately 100 off-campus sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Saint Mary’s Twin Cities Campus
612-728-5100/ www.smumn.edu

Twin Cities Adult Education Alliance
The Twin Cities Adult Education Alliance is made up of Argosy University, Augsburg College, Bethel University, Capella University, Cardinal Stritch University, Century College, The College of St. Catherine, The College of St. Scholastica, Concordia University-St. Paul, Crown College, Dakota County Technical College, DeVry University, Hamline University, Inver Hills Community College, Metropolitan State University, National American University, Normandale Community College, North Hennepin Community College, Northwestern College, St. Cloud State University, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota, University of Phoenix (Mpls-St. Paul campus), University of St. Thomas, and University of Wisconsin-River Falls
www.tcaea.org

University of St. Thomas
651-962-5000 / www.stthomas.edu

University of Wisconsin-Stout
715-232-1122/ www.uwstout.edu

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