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Moms Going Back to College at 50 or any age

Updated on February 7, 2012

Going back to school isn't easy, but you can do it.

Mom, you've spent the last thirty years raising kids, taking care of a husband and a home, and in general putting your dreams aside. At least, that would describe me. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. But now, the kids are grown, the husband has moved on, and it's time to take time for myself. And you can do it too. Mom, you can return to school at 50 or at any age.

Making the decision to return to school after so many years away from the academic world is challenging to say the least. But who is better equipped than a mother, to juggle schedules, deal with sleep deprivation, budget spending, and throw your heart and soul into something, than someone who has been doing it for the last thirty years. Whether you spent the time running a home, running a business, or both (probably at the same time), a woman with these skills is better equipped to withstand the rigors of college life, than a youngster fresh out of high school. Now take away the inherent drama of the 18 to 24 year old set, and a college education begins to look like a piece of cake.

CSU, San Jose

Mom's going back to college at any age.
Mom's going back to college at any age.

Take it slow, or go for it

Not everyone can take the plunge and commit to applying to a university and pursuing a degree. Hitting middle age, doesn't mean that there are no longer obligations to fill up the day. Many women decide to return to school on a part time basis, while holding down a job. Many women, at 50 may still have a child or two at home, or in college. They may be involved in raising grandchildren.

But whatever your schedule may be, there are options available for fitting higher education into your life.

Online education

Online education is a great option for those mothers who still maintain a busy schedule. A google search will bring up many choices, broken down to the kind of education you're after. It is important to do research, though and go to an accredited school. This will ensure that any credits you acquire are transferable and that that degree you worked so hard for is accepted worldwide.

Some examples of the online opportunities available.

Online Degrees for Moms

If your goal is to earn or complete a degree, online education is a real viable solution with many options available.

Education for personal gratification

Many women may just be looking to expand their horizons. A degree may not be the goal to furthering your education. You may just be looking to add skills to round out a resume or to help with advancement at work. In these instances, a community college may be the answer.

Community colleges offer higher education with much lower tuition fees than a four year institution. Even if your goal is to graduate with a Bachelor's degree, it is financially wise to start at and complete the first two years at a two year college.

Aside from allowing students to complete general education requirements at a reduced rate, local community colleges offer a wide range of interesting classes. Again, if your goal is not to earn a degree, junior colleges may be the place to stir your imagination while learning new skills.

Taking the plunge - applying to a University

After spending many years taking a variety of classes at my local community college, I took the plunge and enrolled in a University. It was a scary proposition, but the fact that my daughter is also attending the same school, has made it less so. When we walk together and are handed our degrees, the years of juggling time, money and obligations, will be worth it.

Transferring to a University from a junior college is fairly easy. If you have a decent GPA, it is a painless process and most of the acquired credits transfer over. If you are smart about the classes taken in the first two years, you will be able to spend the second two immersed in classes that pertain to your major. And before you know it, you will be a college graduate.

Free Application For Federal Student Aid

How to afford to go back to school

As a mother, I know what it is like to feel guilty about spending money on yourself. After all, you have spent the last couple of decades, thinking and taking care of others. But spending money on education should not be thought of as a luxury.

Tuition rates vary, but on the average at a four year state institution, tuition for a year of college ranges between $6000.00 and $10000.00. Community college rates are considerably less than that.

There is help for tuition and other school related expenses. The federal pell grant program is free money for those attending school. It is based entirely on income and those who qualify for the whole amount get around $5000.00 per year. This is divided up per term and is applied to tuition costs at a university, or sent directly to the student at a community college, dispersed twice per term.

Low interest student loans are another option to help pay for higher education. Loans need to be paid back, but repayment doesn't start until 6 months after the student leaves school. Student loans are backed by the federal government, so you can't be turned down because of bad credit. Again at the university level, the funds are dispersed first to the school and applied to tuition costs. Students receive a check for the remainder.

The Federal Staford Loan has set limits per year.

For independent students they are as follows:

Freshmen - $9500.00

Sophomore - $10,500.00

Junior and Senior - $12,500.00

Student may borrow up to the limit, or take less, depending on their needs. The only stipulation is that you must be enrolled at least half-time.


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  • Moonchild60 profile image

    Moonchild60 8 years ago

    Wow, this was timely. I am 48, I'll be 49 this July and have been contemplating going back to school and I have been researching on line programs. Thank you very much for a very informative hub and the helpful sites to go to!!

  • adjunct profile image

    adjunct 8 years ago from The Big Easy

    This is a very fine hub! I teach online and many of my students in my online classes are 50 or older. Earning an online degree is the way to go today.



  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 8 years ago from California

    Good luck with going back to school Moonchild.

  • LondonGirl profile image

    LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

    My mother is doing something like this. She did her undergrad and masters degress in Cambridge in the late 60s and early 70s, and a teaching qualification. Last autumn, she started a one year post-grad diploma course in music, and is loving it.

    She's 60, not 50, but the same things apply (-: And as her course is near where we live, she drops in a lot to see more of us, which is a bonus!

  • cindyvine profile image

    Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

    Yeah, I'm thinking seriously of doing a Masters in Creative Writing

  • profile image

    Twin XL 8 years ago

    As a single mom who went back to school in her 30's I really admire anyone (mom or not) going back in their 50's! You go girls!

  • profile image

    mamaduke254 7 years ago

    I just recently went back to school.Both my kids are in college and now my oldest son and I are freshmen and classmates.I am 51 and if I can do so can anyone else if you really want to follow your dream .P.S. I also quilified for FASA

  • profile image

    Beginagainer 7 years ago

    I am 48 years old and also going back to school with my daughter. I enjoyed your article. Are you a English major? I am wanting to go into Testbook editing and may minor in History. I have not decided for sure.

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    Yes, I am going for my English degree. Really having trouble wading through all the reading though. Doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. Thanks for your comment.

  • profile image

    fluffycloud 7 years ago

    I'm 72 next year, have a BA and been in several graduate programs; I did all the classwork for one and my thesis was not approved. Now I want reinvent my life to study consciousness & spirituality. I am active, healthy, wise, youthful and wonderful. I want to do more in my spiritual counseling service.

    I need money to pay for this education, my only income is social security -- bummer! I was magna cum laude at my BA level. I can still do it; and defy what is considered about 70 year young folks. Can I hear from you. I've already made application to a school where I will be a fabulous asset.

  • ThoughtfulSpot profile image

    ThoughtfulSpot 7 years ago from PA

    Wonderful, WONDERFUL article. And, aptly timed for me. I'll be bookmarking and coming back to explore more fully later. Thanks.

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    ThoughtfulSpot, so glad you found this helpful. Good luck in your pursuit of higher education.

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    ThoughtfulSpot, so glad you found this helpful. Good luck in your pursuit of higher education.

  • DonnaWallace profile image

    Donna Wallace 7 years ago from North Carolina

    Wonderful article. An education is so important at any age, and it's encouraging to see that there are other moms who are interested in going back to school too.

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    Thank you Donna for your comment. We are still very much a minority, but from my own experience, we're made to feel welcome.

  • profile image

    Theresa 7 years ago

    Very encouraging! I'm 35 years old with 2 young children, been going to school for nursing, but desperately want to change to English. I always felt I was too old to change now-but I know from this article that I was incredibly wrong!

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    You are never to old to follow your dreams Theresa. Go for it.

  • profile image

    laney1959 6 years ago

    I am 50 my youngest is a junior in high school,I enrolled in a community college last summer. I have one semister left and love every minute of school except the home work.Meeting people of all ages ,making new friends and getting the smart people as your study buddy.I recommend going back to school for anyone of any age, Anyone can do it if I can.

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 6 years ago from California

    Thanks so much laney for your comments. I am one term away from earning my BA. Can't wait to be a college grad.

  • profile image

    Primetime 6 years ago

    I am 51 and contemplating going back to school. I just wonder if companies will hire us at 55 or after.

  • Tankadin profile image

    Tankadin 6 years ago

    What a helpful article. Great hub - rated up!

  • profile image

    CAT671 6 years ago

    Landed the age of fifty. Work full time and have attended on-line course and failed. What can we do to get at least the credits that may be owed while attending class. Does anyone have this problem?

  • profile image

    ann 5 years ago

    Going to school at 49 won't finish till age 51. I'm afraid I be too old and won't be hired. Any suggestion?

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 5 years ago from California

    You have a lot of life experience which the younger job seekers don't have. It is worth a lot and makes you a more well rounded employee.

  • profile image

    freedomsue 5 years ago

    I'm in my second semester and am 54 years old having a great time. A little stressed out by all the work, full time job and a full time housekeeper. Loving it!!!

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 5 years ago from California

    Sounds like you are about where I was a few years ago. Now that it is behind me, though, it was totally worth it.

  • profile image

    Devon 5 years ago

    I am worried I am to old at 47 to try out studying for a new career

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