A surprising number of Michigan college graduates are 'late bloomers'
When you think of college students, you may think of young adults starting out in life but a new report is pointing to a different trend.
More older adults are pursuing college education in Michigan than before, according to a new report called "Late Bloomers: The Aggregate Implications of Getting Education Later in Life." The report found the number of older adults in college is rising.
Chris Farrell, economics journalist and author of "Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money, and Happiness in the Second Half of Life," said although a college degree is not for everyone, most teens know it can lead to a good job and future prospects.
Farrell noted he did not realize what it meant for older adults.
"Late bloomers account for more than half of the growth in the share of college-educated adults from 1960 to 2019," Farrell reported. "Late bloomers also contributed to the narrowing of the gender and racial college share gap over this time period, too."
The report, from the National Bureau of Economic Research, found a cohort of those age 50 or older in higher education included at least 1.3 times more female, Hispanic and Black students than the cohort of those younger than age 30.
Farrell emphasized the report pointed to the need for colleges and universities to become centers for lifelong learning, and not just for the young.
"At a time when four-year institutions are dealing with declining enrollments, late bloomers, this is a potential pool of applicants," Farrell stressed. "Welcoming late bloomers into the academy, that's an opportunity for growth with the aging of the workforce."
Although research shows a hefty rate of return on a college degree, late bloomers do get a boost to their wages after they earn their degrees, although it is smaller by a meaningful amount than the one received by people who graduate early in life.