Going Way Back to School

by Vault Education Editors | September 28, 2009

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“The idea here is to fundamentally change our approach to unemployment in this country so that it’s no longer just a time to look for a new job, but is also a time to prepare yourself for a better job,” – President Barack Obama

In a recession, there are varying schools of thought regarding continuing education and money. Some adults that were considering returning to school have put plans on hold; they argue that with an uncertain end date to the recession, it is foolish to take out thousands in loans when job prospects may still be scarce. Optimists either use the classroom time as a wait-out period after a layoff, or take night classes that they support with their current job and/or minimal loans.

But for adults that want to begin an undergraduate degree or finish one they started years ago, the ROI benefits are more evident. One of Vault’s own, Mathew Kasparian, was recently featured on the Today Show for being one of the many adults who are earning a bachelor’s degree while working full-time.

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Kasparian says that although respected employers value his more than a decade of work experience, more than ever they are looking for a degree to go along with it. Statistics agree: In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/wkyeng.pdf found that the average high school graduate 25 years and over, with no college degree or credits, makes only a little more than half of those with a bachelor’s degree only. Those with some college experience or an associate degree make about 70 percent of their bachelor-holding counterparts.

Now is as good as, if not better time than any to look into an adult continuing education programs: In addition to the $53.6 billion in stimulus funds allocated to education, a growing number of reputable colleges and universities (including NYU, Kasparian’s choice program) are offering adult degree programs that cater to the time constraints of full-time employees. And, as Mathew points out, “when the recession is over we’re going to need people to head the new economy.”

Posted by Megan Cassidy

Filed Under: Education

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