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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Bills, deadlines, little league practice. With things like this constantly on your mind, it’s hard to imagine having room left on your plate for anything else—especially school. But, somehow many parents are miraculously finding the time, money and drive to go back to school, even if only part-time.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the college enrollment for the 25 plus age group has risen sharply over the last few years—even more so than other demographics—proving that more and more adults, and possibly even parents are going back to college.

Whether obtaining an additional degree, getting a new certification or simply setting foot on campus for the first time, the numbers don’t lie. Parent-students are a rising demographic taking over campuses, online discussion boards and degree programs alike, as they pursue their passion for education. But even with the growing trend, many adults with children are hesitant about enrolling; however, understanding what options exist can make taking the plunge to get back to the books easier.

Support Groups
Lots of parents fear that they won’t be able to handle the added pressure of going back to school on top of all of their other responsibilities, yet realizing how many others are in the same boat as them can help make the decision easier. Lots of institutions offer support groups for their students to join. They can meet either in person or simply interact online, depending on what works best for the group. These offer parents an understanding, secure place to vent. Their peers can offer insight and perspective they might not be able to get anywhere else, which will make the whole process easier.

Financial Aid
In addition to the fears of not being able to handle the mental stress of the situation, there is also the worry that going back to school will be too much of a financial burden. It’s important for potential students to research their eligibility for receiving financial aid in the form of grants, loans or scholarships. Lot of institutions, whether online, traditional or a combination of both, have specialized categories of financial aid options exclusively for parents. Knowing that their educational pursuits will not impact their family’s wallet too much, should allay some of the trepidation potential students might feel.

Important to Remember
Overall, if you are even slightly entertaining the idea of continuing your education, it’s important to get all of the facts before you make a decision one way or another. The amount of information out there on the subject is nearly limitless—you just have to take the time to find it to make an educated decision. In the end, it will be an investment in not only yours, but also your family’s future, so it’s worth your time.

This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes for the online classes blog. Barbara Jolie is an avid writer and blogger, interested in all things education. For questions or comments email her at barbara.jolie876@gmail.com.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who are also students.

Image courtesy of Cordey via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.