Here’s a catch 22 you might be familiar with. Many adults who haven’t completed their undergraduate education reach a plateau in their careers that can only be overcome by having a degree. However, without the higher income from a more advanced position, it can seem impossible to afford the education to complete the degree that would enable advancement. Sound like thoughts you’ve had before? Our academic advisors are familiar with these challenges adult students face in returning to college.
Enter Linfield’s initiatives for adult learners to help finance your college education. We have several methods to make college more affordable for adults returning to school, and the best part is that they have proven to be successful.
Our first way that we help students to scale the wall of higher education cost is to offer knowledgeable financial aid counselors who will help students to successfully navigate the application process for government supported grants and loans. As our Financial Aid Counselor Sandra Tello says, “There is financial aid for everyone.”
Our second tool for helping students to find the means to pay for college is to offer Path to Scholarships workshops. For years, our workshops and webinars have helped adult students successfully win scholarships to help pay for college.
We have established scholarships specifically for Adult Degree Program students. Alumni and friends of the ADP support the scholarship funds. One of these scholarship funds, the Adult Degree Program Alumni Scholarship is now in its twentieth year. Current ADP students are eligible for the scholarships, which are awarded in the fall and spring semesters to students who demonstrate academic merit and financial need.
This semester’s ADP Alumni Scholarship scholar is Janie Marsh, a senior majoring in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Like many adults returning to college, Marsh has worked through numerous obstacles to achieve her bachelor’s degree. In her words, she was a “high school dropout” who achieved academic success later in life at Chemeketa Community College, where she earned her associate degree, and now is excelling in her courses at Linfield College. Gerardo Ochoa, Associate Director of Financial Aid on Linfield’s Portland campus says, “Janie Marsh is a diligent student who has done a great job at turning her personal obstacles into character qualities, precisely what scholarships providers, colleges, and employers are looking for.”
Our final tactic for reducing the high cost of attending college is our online program format, which is ideal for working professionals who cannot afford to quit their jobs in order to attend college. In fact, this format is the key piece that enabled scholarship winner Marsh to obtain her degree. After earning her associate degree, Marsh transferred to Linfield College as a fulltime on-campus student, while maintaining employment part time. She was able to accept a fulltime position offered by her employer without interrupting her education thanks to our online degree completion program.
Not only does the flexible structure of our online programs enable learners to keep their fulltime employment, but many adult students, like Marsh, thrive with an online learning format. One of Janie’s professors at Linfield, Dr. David Groff, said, “Janie really engaged actively in classroom discussion in the online format. She contributed very thoughtful comments throughout the course.”
As for Marsh, her future is even brighter now that her bachelor’s degree is within arm’s reach. She says, “My career aspiration is to become a therapist in the field of mental health and addictions, with a specialization in the emerging field of eco-psychology.” Eco-psychology involves utilizing the therapeutic approaches inherent in the natural environment (like gardening, hiking, and spending time in nature) to help people to improve their mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. She is preparing to enter a master’s degree program in the professional field.
In addition to successfully navigating through college, finding the means to finance her education, and launching her career in the field she loves, Marsh will enjoy an additional achievement this June: she will be graduating alongside her son, who is also a soon-to-be Linfield grad.