Older students resume studies

By Rick Techman

The percentage of students at NIU who are older than 25 lags behind the national percentage.

In a Jan. 29 speech at NIU, George Keller, a nationally-known education writer from the University of Pennsylvania, said more than 44 percent of the nation’s college student population is older than 25 years old and has special needs other than those of a typical college-age student.

Roughly 28 percent of NIU’s approximate 24,300 enrollment is older than 25, according to 1989 statistics provided by NIU’s Office of Institutional Research.

Ten percent of NIU’s 18,029 fall 1989 undergraduate enrollment is older than 25, according to the office, while 80 percent of NIU’s 6,400 graduate students are older than 25, according to office statistics.

Larry Apperson, dean of Student Services at Kishwaukee Community College, said the average age of Kishwaukee students is 28, while the state community college average is 30.

In order to meet the demands of older students, Kishwaukee started a “late afternoon kind of programing of classes that start about 3 p.m.” to accommodate adults on workday schedules.

Although Apperson said morning classes are still the most popular at Kishwaukee, classes starting at 6:30 p.m. are just as busy.

Junior journalism student Marc Alberts said it took almost 10 years for him to decide to return to school. “I came back to school because at age 29, I finally decided what I wanted to do,” he said. Alberts said he works part-time on evenings and weekends to accommodate his weekday class schedule.

Terri Doty is a 27-year-old, part-time student at NIU who lives off-campus with her husband and four children. She said she missed a few years of school because of family matters, but is happy to be a part-time student.

Junior psychology major Ricky Naylor is a transfer student living on Neptune Hall’s over-21 housing floor.

John Felver, assistant director of Student Housing who oversees the special interest floors, said the over-21 floors are composed of “a more mature, more academic group of students.”

The students on these floors spend more time in the library and studying, Felver said. Many of these students are graduate students and work as teaching assistants, he said.

Seniors Ray Majeski, 27, and his fiancee, Patti Kloss, 26, said grants and savings were important to finance their education. Majeski said that he worked for more than five years before returning to school and he finds classes fulfilling and an opening to a better future.