An article in the February 14, 2011 edition of USA Today reports that more older and nontraditional students are appearing in university classrooms and lecture halls:
The economic downturn has generated even more interest in higher education among non-traditional students. In January, the unemployment rate for adults with a bachelor's degree or higher was 4.2%, vs. 9.4% for high school graduates with no college education. Some economists believe that due to structural changes in the economy, thousands of jobs in manufacturing and other sectors that typically didn't require a college degree will never come back.
Colleges and universities are helping the nation's unemployed revamp their professional skills by "expanding evening classes [...] and offering courses at satellite locations," the article goes on to report. A vital component of the new curriculum friendly to nontraditional students is the development of online curriculums.
Colleges and universities are also making it easier financially for nontraditional learners to attend degree programs. New forms of financial aid and scholarships are available to these nontraditional learners to facilitate the completion of their degrees. Many schools designate scholarship funds just for nontraditional learners. Nontraditional students often also pay a lower rate of tuition.
Though the recent recession has left millions of unemployed Americans in its wake, colleges and universities across the nation are making it easier than ever for these people to cultivate a new skill set that will set them on the path toward fuller -- and hopefully more fulfilling -- employment.