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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Thinking about going back to school? Now’s the time

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School buses are back on the roads, and school supplies are in backpacks. Soon, college students will be heading back to campus — it’s that time of year.

It’s an exciting time, especially for educators like me. I teach because I enjoy it. I find learning — my own and my students’ — to be fulfilling and enriching.

If you want to go back to school — or have simply thought about it — I encourage you to think more seriously about it.

There are a number of resources that can help you move from thinking about school — to actually going to school. In doing some searching for resources at IUPUI specifically, I discovered the state of Indiana offers the Student Grant for adult students attending school part time. If you’re concerned about a budget, IUPUI provides an online tool to put together all the costs and aid you may need to consider.

If you’re considering a return to college, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education enacted a campaign in 2016 called You Can Go Back, which “aims to help the 750,000+ Hoosier adults with some college but no degree, finish what they started.” Check out learnmoreindiana.org for more information about which schools may be the best fit for you.

There’s good news: The latest numbers from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education show “more Hoosier students are earning degrees and graduating on time.”

Additional good news for minority students, in particular: The Postsecondary National Policy Institute shows more than 70 percent of African-American high school graduates enrolled in college in fall of 2014. Before that, the rate was about 60 percent. But there’s a lot of work to be done. A report released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows 54.8 percent of students who started in a college or university in 2010 completed a degree or certificate within six years. Asian and white students had a higher completion rate (63.2 percent and 62.0 percent) from a college or university than Black or Hispanic students (45.8 percent and 38.0 percent).

I am lucky I had some great role models in my life to encourage me toward my dreams of getting my MBA and my Ph.D. Back in my May column, I discussed the influence my parents had on my brothers and me. My parents were the first in their families to attend college.

By watching them, I saw how important and how successful one can be simply by pursuing an education: taking the time and just doing it. If a four-year degree isn’t for you, maybe it’s a two-year degree, a certificate or professional development course or getting that high school diploma.

I’m a firm believer that lifelong learning is important. There’s no better time than the present. Why not start now?

 

Darrell Brown, Ph.D., is a clinical associate professor of management and director of diversity at Indiana University Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus.

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