Campus Programs Help Returning Adult Students

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El Vaquero Staff Writer

Today’s college scene turns another historical page where students of three generations share the same struggle in a classroom to accomplish a goal.

Edward Karpp, Director of Institutional Research of GCC said, the data of Fall 1999-2001 shows 45 percent of students who enrolled were over 25 years old. The figure remained the same since fall 1996.

“I would expect the figures to remain about the same for the next few years,” he said. What Karpp means is that the Generation X and the baby boomers will be roaming around campus with younger students.

Students entering college past their 25th birthday find the guidance of the transfer center useful. Easy access to college’s programs attracts the generation X-ers to change careers or start a new one. The rapid changes in our technology push the baby boomers back to school.

“Although students over 25 years old take college courses for the same reason as the younger ones, older students are more likely to have vocational goals and younger students are more likely to have transfer goals,” Karpp said.

Halleigh Andrews is enrolled to become an entertainment lawyer. She raised a family after high school. The 25-year-old student realizes that she needs an education to be a well rounded person.

“I set a goal and I am sticking to it. I don’t have the luxury of time on my side,” she said. She plans to go to Loyola Marymount University as soon as she finishes the core requirements to transfer.
Through the assistance of the transfer center, Jane A. Quintero, 30, is geared for a career change. Although she likes her profession as an accountant, she wants to achieve her long time dream.

“Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a teacher and work with children,” she said. Quintero juggles work, family, and school in her eagerness to finish a Liberal Arts degree. She plans to transfer to Cal State Northridge next semester. “My husband is very supportive,” she said. “I think it is very important for a woman to have the support of her husband in order to fulfill her dream,” she said.

The PACE program (Project for Adult College Education) is one of the attempts of the college to lure adult students. Started in the fall of 1999 with 60 students, the program is “very successful because it allows working adults to take a full 12-unit load and still maintain a full-time job,” Bob Taylor, its director, said. “Today, there are over 250 students taking advantage of the program.”

Claudia Pappachan is a success story for the PACE program. Before the thirty-one year old mother finished the program in 2000, she went to trade school for a quick word processing class after high school. She landed a counter clerk position in the L.A. Superior Court in downtown. After ten years, she was promoted to supervisor. But for Pappachan, success is not enough.

“When you go out there, you need some tools to better yourself,” she said. “I have seen workers who cannot communicate or write. That’s why I went back to school.”