Older Columbus students getting diplomas - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Older students the new norm getting diplomas

COLUMBUS, GA - Nowadays, the economic times are changing, and some say not for the best - impacting how we shop, pay our bills, even how we live.  For some folks, they are even changing education.

The Spring Graduation for hundreds of Columbus Technical College students introduces many to what is fast becoming the "typical" graduate.

Almost 400 Columbus Technical College students filed in to become graduates, but if you look closely at the faces beneath the caps and gowns, you might find someone you do not normally see, like 38 year old Eunice Drayton.

"Well, I have 3 kids at home and prior to think I was working on a job for three years, but I became ill and when I left the job I was at when I became ill, then I decided to come back to school," said Drayton.

The new grad is not alone.  About 71% of Columbus Tech's students are over 25 breaking the traditional ages of 18 to 20 for students enrolled in higher education programs.  Drayton, a mom of three turned grad, earned her 3rd degree but says she was shocked that her fellow students were all about her age.

"There's a lot of older students who came from jobs they had been on many years and got laid off of or something like that," said Drayton.

The Dean of the School of Applied Business Abigail Carter says the trends are changing.

"There are people that are coming back for a 2nd career or moms that have kids that have graduated or kids that are not in school, and now, they're coming back to start their education."

Carter said the reason is simple.

"When the economy goes bad, there's nothing else to do but retrain ourselves, and that's what we're seeing, people retraining."

For Drayton, this retraining means a future for her family and she is not going to stop with this diploma.  Now, she is looking at another degree at a 4 year college.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly