Obtaining a college or university degree might prove to hold many advantages. For many parents, concerns about time and finances might come in to play as part of making the decision to go back to school. Single parents particularly might mistakenly believe that a college or university degree is out of reach.
There are, however, many reasons for parents – single and otherwise – to go back to school to pursue or complete campus-based or online degree programs. There are now more flexible programs to accommodate hectic schedules. There are also a variety of scholarships and other forms of financial aid to help pay the tuition.
After a 20-plus year hiatus from school, Saida Luciana-Ross of Waterbury, Conn., made time for online courses offered by the area’s Post University and earned her degree online, an NBC News report on online education in Connecticut noted. This mother of three may serve as inspiration for parents with dreams of their own. Adults have also been credited with contributing to recent enrollment increases at institutions throughout the country.
Online college and university courses in particular make continued education within easier reach for many parents considering going back to school. Parents can participate in online courses at times when the demands of work and family subside. There are opportunities for parents to work entirely toward a degree online or to combine classroom time with online course work. In instances where campus courses are required as part of a degree program, parents might even find that even these offerings fit within their scheduling needs. Take an accelerated masters degree program at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University, for instance.
Many colleges and universities offer flexible scheduling where classroom studies are concerned. At Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., the School of Nursing web site shows that it offers an accelerated masters degree program where students can spend blocks of time on campus and receive instruction via distance learning, earning their degree in a more efficient amount of time than they would in a traditional program. Regis University in Denver, Colo., offers a CHOICE (Connecting Health Occupations with Innovative Curriculum and Experience) bachelor of science in nursing where students attend classes on campus twice weekly during evenings and participate in clinical experiences during weekends.
While some parents report taking online courses for their own personal fulfillment, working toward a degree online can provide more job opportunities and increase income potential. More jobs these days require an education beyond high school, and college graduates have more jobs from which to choose than those who don’t continue their education beyond high school, according to the College Board. Information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows also that, in many instances, income levels rise with college and university degree levels.
When it comes to financial assistance, parents might turn to the financial aid offices of colleges, universities and technical schools in which they’re interested. Parents can also apply for scholarships and grants from government agencies, large corporations, non-profit foundations and community and civic groups that in many instances can be applied to any institution that is accredited by a nationally recognized agency. Parents can search for scholarships and grants that are designed for their financial situations, the areas they plan to study, or even those intended for women, minorities or single parents.
Obtaining a degree on campus or through online education programs, parents might soon find themselves moving up the corporate ladder or into a new career. The increase in earnings that a college or university degree can provide might better enable parents to support their children. While working toward degree takes time and money, the flexibility offered in these classes by accredited online schools means parents might ultimately find that the investment results in a better quality of life for the entire family.