Are you a Baby Boomer who’s thinking about going back to college?
It may be to learn a new school to prep you for your encore career. Or maybe you just want to expand that beautiful mind of yours by taking those courses you never got a chance to take as an undergrad.
Here’s some back-to-school advice courtesy of Kate Forgach, a Baby Boomer consumer specialist for Kinoli, an internet marketing company.
She cites a U.S. News and World Report piece that says the previous decade saw the total number of college students aged 40 to 64 increase nearly 20 percent, to almost two million.
Forgach’s to-do list includes the following:
1. Comparison Shop
“You’d compare prices when buying a computer or appliance, so it only makes sense to compare the costs of a college education,” she said, recommending the U.S. Department of Education website to compare college prices.
2. Reduce Your Overhead
Said Forgach: “Begin paying down outstanding debts before you start paying for school or you’ll just have another monkey on your back. Learn the basic rules of frugal living and implement them into your daily life.” She recommends one of Kinoli’s products: GiftCardGranny.com.
3. Depend on the Kindness of Strangers
“Applying for financial aid seems self evident, but it’s easy to assume grants and fellowships are only for the young. In actuality, many such programs are now targeted specifically to non-traditional-age students (NTAs). For example, AARP annually awards a scholarship for women over 50,” she said.
4. Depend on the Kindness of Your Employer
“You don’t have to work for a major employer like IBM to receive continuing-education support. Ask your employers if they’ll provide some financial aid as you update your skills, making you even more useful on the job,” said Forgach.
5. Apply for Federal Work Study
If you’re child went to college your probably remember this as a way they helped pay their way. You can do the same thing. Said Forgach: “Campus employers are often attracted by the work ethic of NTA students, so you have a better chance of securing one of these primo positions than your younger competitors.” She recommended the Federal Work Study program web site.
6. Attend a Community College First
Lots of Boomers are gravitating toward community colleges, especially the technical schools for those wishing to learn a new trade.
7. Consider a For-profit School
According to data cited by Forgach, for-profit students see an income boost of 54 percent when they leave school.
8. Study Abroad
“Combine travel and lower tuition rates by attending school in another country. Canada is an excellent option you might overlook,” said Forgach.
9. Look Into Internships
Said Forgach: “You’re never too old to start at the bottom. Many employers now hire only after they’ve seen the quality of the employee, so an internship is your opportunity to show off your mature skills.”
10. Don’t Fork Over a Fortune for Textbooks
“Campus bookstores are no longer the only game in town as rental, swap and discount websites now make it easier and cheaper. Even major merchants, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, offer great deals,” she said, as well as options for e-readers.