Earning Your Degree Online: A Guide for Senior Citizens

Education doesn’t have to stop when you reach a certain age; it’s always a good idea to arm yourself with knowledge. Going back to school or learning a new degree as an adult can give you new purpose and meaning in your life. Earning a college degree is no long regarded as something only a young adult can achieve and if you’re a senior you owe it to yourself to further your education.

The best part about earning a degree is that you can do it all online, in the comfort of your own home! Gone are the days when you’d have to get up early, sit in a crowded lecture hall, and make small talk with your much younger classmates.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, this guide is here will help you turn your dreams into a reality. We’ve gathered the best information there is out there on this subject, so you can start your journey immediately.

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The Benefits of Going Back to School

Finding a job at any age is difficult, but getting the job you want as a senior may seem like it’s almost impossible. When you further your education, job opportunities also open up. Why not make yourself more marketable in your field?

In addition to increasing your chances of landing a job, learning new things helps with your overall physical and mental health – it builds new connections and strengthens preexisting ones in your brain. Not to mention the benefits it has on your memory, cognitive, and problem-solving skills. Going back to school can also help your mood and it allows you to connect with others in the classroom and after you graduate and the land that job you wanted. 

Why Should You Do It Online?

It may seem overwhelming to make the change from learning in a classroom to earning a degree online, especially because a lot of seniors aren’t especially comfortable using computers. But, it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone and you’ll be surprised at just how nice it can be to learn in your own home. You’ll save time on travel, you won’t feel bad about being the oldest person in the class, and you can learn at your own pace. Online courses usually use sites like Blackboard and Moodle which give you assess to all the course materials at any hour of the day and they’re user-friendly.

How Do You Register Online?

The good news is you don’t have to take any of those tests like the SAT, ACT, or GRE – that you dreaded taking when you were younger or write any of those seemingly pointless admission essays. In general, you just need to be 60 or older, a citizen of the United States, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and to qualify for financial assistance you need to meet income requirements.

The next step is choosing the school you would like to apply to and then you can find most of the information about the application process online or by phone or email.

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Free Online Courses, Scholarships, and Financial Assistance

Probably the main benefit of online courses is that they are significantly cheaper than completing a degree in the classroom. But, did you know that you can take online courses for free?

All schools have a financial aid office, which you can contact for more information, but in general resources like FAFSA, scholarships, tax credits, and aids can save you a lot of money! A short overview of the resources available is as follows:

FAFSA: It’s where to start. FAFSA will tell you your eligibility for assistance from state and federal resources.

Scholarships: There are so many scholarships available – all you have to do is spend some time researching. You’ll be surprised at the number of scholarships there are available for seniors returning to school.

Tax Credits: There are two resources available: The American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

Aids: “Encore Programs” offer free or significantly reduced tuition for adults over 50 and it’s based on state. Just check out the benefits by state because some states only allow you to audit courses, which doesn’t give you course credit and some allow you to take courses at extremely discounted rates.


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