Baby Boomers in College

Baby Boomers in College

Colleges nation wide have been reporting strong surges in enrollment largely due

to baby boomers returning to school. Baby boomers are Americans born between 1946

and 1964. Soldiers returning from WWII caused a rise in the birth rate of the United

States, creating a "boom" which is where the term "baby boom" comes from. There were

approximately 76 million baby boomers born during that 18 year span. The baby boomer

generation is now creating a "boom" in the field of adult education.

Enrollment in college programs by baby boomers has risen substantially. In 2001

the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that more than 20 percent

of United States college students are above the age of 30. (qtd. in CNN 1). The National

Center for Education Statistics also reported that enrollment of students aged 40 and

older has increased by 48 percent from the early 1970's. (1). The baby boomer

generation has become the driving force behind the growth of adult education.

The benefits of higher education for the boomers have been greater than that

of their parents. Baby boomer parents are from the Great Depression generation. These

Great Depression era parents were immigrants who believed that hard work was the way

to succeed in life. Upon arriving in America, the immigrants needed skills to help them

live in their new homeland. They learned a new language, to read and that education

was necessary to secure their future. These parents raised their children with the belief

that education would open many doors for their children's futures.

The effects of education for the baby boomers was stronger than for their parents

of the Great Depression generation.

“College just isn’t for me,” cries the helpless senior, “I don’t know where to go, I’m not smart enough, and I can’t afford it.” Whether this statement is used as an excuse or it is sincerely believed is...

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