UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Adults age 25 and older are returning to school in growing numbers. The National Center for Education Statistics projects these enrollments will rise 20 percent to 10.7 million through 2020. Penn State is experiencing the same trend, and in 2012–13, had 30,879 adult students at all Penn State campuses, except for Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies; Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; Penn State University, The Dickinson School of Law; and study abroad program. To help current and prospective students successfully pursue their education, Penn State is launching a new enhanced website.
“Education is valuable for adult learners,” said James Osborn, a Marine Corps veteran and Penn State York student enrolled in Business Essentials for Professionals. “I was a little nervous starting out, but the accelerated evening classes are very beneficial. I enjoy being in class with other adult students and building networking relationships,” added Osborn, who lives in Spring Grove, Pa., and works full time in logistics at Glatfelter Paper in York, Pa. A speech course has already “helped me prepare documents more effectively for meetings.”
Making it easier for adults to start their college career or return to school after a break is the goal of Penn State’s website, which streamlines information gathering for busy adults.
That’s important to Shaheeda Wilks, of Penn Hills, Pa., who is enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership at Penn State New Kensington. The earlier adult learner website helped her transition to Penn State from a community college. “I want to better myself and my job opportunities, and a degree from Penn State will help me,” said Wilks, the mother of Jordan and a second son who is due in December. A dietary aide at Golden LivingCenter – Monroeville, Pa., Wilks needs just four courses to graduate next spring.
Rachel Jones, of Reedsville, is enrolled at the Penn State Lewistown Center and pursuing associate degrees in letters, arts and sciences and nursing (through a partnership with Lewistown Hospital’s School of Nursing). When she and her husband David started a family, Rachel became a homemaker. Twenty-eight years later, with children Bethany and Nathanael grown, she was ready to return to school. “I went to school in the dinosaur days of no computers,” said Jones, who is acquiring technology skills for her new career.
Learn more about Penn State’s education programs for adults at the new website.