In the state of Maryland, there are a multitude of choices for anyone seeking a bachelor’s degree without spending a fortune. For adults past the age of 30, there are some great choices that provide specially tailored programs to meet the needs of older adult students. Older adult students have many needs that may differ from the tradition 18-22 year student body. Older adult students may have full time jobs, serve in the military, or even have families. This diverse body of needs of the older student requires a more flexible program of study that is sometimes not found at all schools.
In Maryland, some of the more flexible schools offer nighttime classes, web based courses, top notch instructors, and even paths to graduate school. One does not have to give up quality instruction or sacrifice graduate school by earning a degree from an older adult friendly program. While some schools may have better academics or a more flexible study program, all offer a good education. After a review of many schools in Maryland, three schools standout for older adult students. These schools offer lower tuition rates, good academic programs, and programs developed for older adult students.
The choices include the University of Maryland University College, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the University of Maryland College Park. Each school has its strengths, weakness, and factors that help make them potentially attractive to older adult students. Not only do they offer ample resources for older adult students, they are also in state schools that offer reduced tuitions, which make a college education substantially more affordable than private schools. All three schools also offer respectable academic programs and are regionally accredited.
Below are descriptions of each school with their strengths and weaknesses.
University of Maryland University College
The first school recommended is the University of Maryland University College or UMUC. Functioning as an adjunct school to the University of Maryland College Park campus, older adults have obtained degrees from the school for decades. The school offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees in different areas of study. Some of the better programs include the business, computer science, information systems, management, and financial areas of study. Other quality programs of study are also available. Classes are conducted on different campuses throughout Maryland and through the web. Many instructors have a great deal of professional experience on top of their academic profiles.
In terms of financial matters, all in state residents receive in state tuition rates. Even out of state residents will find the tuition far below private schools. Tuition assistance from financial aid, employer remission, and the military is available. Students can also setup payment plans and even spread out classes.
Many students graduate from UMUC to find a solid job or even go on to graduate school. An older adult student will find ample resources including on campus study sessions, computers for student use, the vast libraries of the main University of Maryland campus, and a committed staff. The quality of education one will obtain at UMUC will ultimately depend on what one puts into it. One can pass through a program with poor grades or work to achieve higher grades. One’s education is really in one’s hands at UMCP. With high grades and quality work, one should have no trouble applying for graduate schools or obtaining a quality job.
University of Maryland College Park
The main campus of the University of Maryland, also known as UMCP, is also the highest regarded institution in the state system. While it may not have the greatest range of older adult student friendly programs, one will find the best academic programs in the state system. Top graduates can go on to Ivy League graduate programs from UMCP. If one is looking to work towards the absolute top of the educational choices for future graduate school possibilities, UMCP may be the best choice. U
MCP has the highest amount of research studies, grants, and financial aid of any school in the state system. The downside is that many classes are conducted on campus during the day. While some classes are held at night, working adults may find the selection limited, depending on their program of study. If one is flexible or has a flexible job, then UMCP can be a good choice. If one has a full time job, the school may not be the best choice.
University of Maryland Baltimore County
While it may not be on everyone’s list, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, or UMBC, should be looked at. It has a predominately younger student body than UMUC but has some highly regarded programs. What makes it a potentially attractive school for older adult students is that classes that are held at night and online. Older Students can create flexible schedules including summer classes for their needs. The professors are top notch and many have done a great deal of research in their fields. The school offers a wide range of programs include science, the liberal arts, engineering, computer science, information systems, and public affairs.
Students can take advantage of many research opportunities at the school and obtain valuable experience for future employment or graduate school. In fact the school is a great way to work towards an academic career. Graduates can go on to top schools or even continue on at UMBC with numerous graduate programs. Financially, the school has in state tuition rates and financial aid. Beyond the academics, the school offers a smaller campus with a more private school type of feeling than UMCP offers. In many ways, UMBC offers a blend of flexibility of UMUC with the greater academic prowess of its programs similar to those at UMCP.
Why not For-Profit and Private Schools?
While there is an ample selection of for profit schools in Maryland, they can be overly expensive and some may lack adequate financial aid programs. While there are certain some good schools in this category, one may want to take a more critical eye at their programs than the more established state schools. There are some great private schools include Loyola University and Gallaudet University but may have limited programs for older adult students. Like for-profit schools, private schools can be prohibitively expensive. However, if one can obtain tuition remission from an employer or from the military, they should be looked at.
In the end, each student will need to look at prospective schools to see if their programs are a good fit. Not every school will fit everyone’s needs. Older adults will need to see if their intended programs have flexible classes, have good academics, and are affordable. The University of Maryland at College Park may have programs less oriented towards older adult students but offer greater academic programs. The University of Maryland University College may be far more flexible for older adult students but have good but great academic programs as found at its sister school. The University of Maryland Baltimore County might have a blend of the first two school’s strengths in its highly regarded academic programs along with flexible classes. All three schools covered here have lower tuition rates, good financial aid programs, and are accessible to the Baltimore-Washington metro areas. Older adult students will find a great deal of value in each school.