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Fac­tors like read­just­ment to being in school, the cost of tuition, imple­ment­ing new tech­nolo­gies, and even just age can inhib­it peo­ple from going back to school at 40 to fin­ish their degrees. While all of these things are com­mon inse­cu­ri­ties, the fact is that going back to school has expo­nen­tial­ly more ben­e­fits than it does draw­backs. All of the things you could learn, the greater career poten­tial, and the sense of accom­plish­ment that come with earn­ing a col­lege degree make it a worth­while invest­ment at any age. You should­n’t let any­thing hold you back from con­tin­u­ing your edu­ca­tion if it is some­thing you want to do.

The age of the typ­i­cal col­lege stu­dent is ris­ing and has been doing so for quite some time. There were over 8 mil­lion stu­dents over the age of 25 in 2015, in a report pub­lished by the Nation­al Cen­ter for Edu­ca­tion Sta­tis­tics. While 25 is still a far cry from 40, this demon­strates the fact that it is becom­ing increas­ing­ly “nor­mal” for col­lege stu­dents to be old­er than has been typ­i­cal­ly expect­ed in the past.

Age is a huge stum­bling block when it comes to choos­ing to return to school, but the data is there that shows that there’s noth­ing to wor­ry about. There are careers that require con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion, there are new career fields that may appeal to old­er adults open­ing up, and there is always room for pro­fes­sion­al advance­ment when some­one has a col­lege degree. Anoth­er fac­tor that holds old­er adults back from going back to school is the amount of time it takes to earn a degree may not seem worth it.

An accel­er­at­ed degree pro­gram is a great option for some­one going back to school at 40 who might not want to take the full 4 or 5 years to grad­u­ate. These degree com­ple­tion pro­grams can lead to a big boost in salary and come with a built-in return-on-invest­ment. Many degree pro­grams boast a cost-per-cred­it that is dras­ti­cal­ly low­er than Amer­i­ca’s aver­age of over $500 and then there is the salary boost that comes with that degree. The aver­age salary for some­one who has some col­lege edu­ca­tion is about $38,376 per year and there’s an unem­ploy­ment rate of 5% at that lev­el of edu­ca­tion. For peo­ple who have earned their bach­e­lor’s degree, the aver­age salary is $59,124 per year and that lev­el of edu­ca­tion cuts the unem­ploy­ment rate almost in half at 2.8%.

Salary alone isn’t the only thing that makes it worth it to go back to school at 40. The sense of accom­plish­ment that comes with earn­ing your col­lege degree is some­thing irre­place­able, espe­cial­ly because old­er gen­er­a­tions have always placed a high­er esteem on going to col­lege. Obtain­ing a degree that allows you to step up into dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sion­al roles or even chang­ing your career alto­geth­er is what can help you see your annu­al pay go up, but it also paves the way for you to have a job that you like more, care more about, and gen­er­al­ly find more ful­fill­ing. There are plen­ty of rea­sons why some­one could feel dis­cour­aged when it comes to return­ing to col­lege, but it is worth it for so many more.


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