College Featured 

7 SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADULT LEARNERS

Indiana has more than 100 choices of colleges and universities to choose from, and even before the worldwide pandemic forced classrooms to close in 2020, most offered online education options, part- time programs and special options for working adults.

In addition, the State of Indiana has several initiatives aimed at adult learners and career changers. There are so many, we only listed seven—if you don’t see what you’re looking for, check with your local community college or any university in your area.

Indiana’s Adult Programs: Indiana wants to help you succeed, with financial aid programs like You Can. Go Back and Next Level Jobs, that are specifically designed to help the 750,000 Hoosiers who have some college credit but no degree and the thousands of other adult Hoosiers without a degree or credential. Many of Indiana’s colleges offer flexible class schedules, online courses and college credit for work and military experiences, meaning it’s easier than ever to get started. State grants are available for qualifying students. Visit nextleveljobs.org/youcangoback.

Earn High School Credentials. If your lack of a high school diploma is holding you back, Indiana Adult Education programs provide math, reading, and writing instruction free of charge to help you acquire the skills needed to earn a high school equivalency diploma, go to college, or enter an entry-level occupational certification program. You can even earn a high school equivalency diploma and an occupational certificate at the same time through the WorkINdiana program, allowing you to get back to work or switch careers quickly. Check with your local WorkOne center, or you can find an Indiana map that pinpoints adult education providers by county at in.gov/dwd.

Learn for Free. A worldwide phenomenon extending far beyond Indiana’s borders, online learning sites like Coursera and edX allow you to audit courses from top universities for free. You can take free online courses from Harvard, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Yale, and many others. Most require some registration, and for an additional fee you might be able to earn a grade or a certificate. Might be a nice addition to your LinkedIn profile or resume—and could be fun, too.

UpSkill Forward at Indiana Wesleyan. Indiana Wesleyan University is offering a new educational opportunity it says will give students a real “bang for their buck.” The UpSkill Forward program provides access to online training programs designed for specific in-demand careers in areas such as aerospace, automotive and commercial industries. The program is part of IWU’s Talent Ladder division, designed to help bridge the gap between training and education and address the struggles of talent attraction and retention among employers. IWU partnered with businesses to develop the program in an effort to help them better strategize their talent attraction and retention plans. The UpSkill Forward program comes at a low cost, starting at about $50, and can be completed in a very short amount of time.

WGU Indiana was one of the first, designed-just-for-working adults college programs in the nation. The online, competency-based university celebrated its 10-year anniversary in June and over the last decade, WGU Indiana has awarded more than 9,700 degrees and counts alumni in all of Indiana’s 92 counties. WGU Indiana offers more than 60 accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, information technology, K–12 education, and health professions, including nursing. Students can potentially earn a four-year degree in just 18 months—cutting time and tuition costs over a traditional program.

Purdue Global is at the other end of the spectrum—a relative new comer to Indiana’s adult education world. Purdue University bought for-profit Kaplan University in 2017 to boost its online programming and two years later, Purdue Global has awarded more than 700 credentials to Hoosiers, from certificates to doctorates. Currently, more than 3,000 Hoosiers are enrolled at Purdue Global.

TransferIN.net. Wondering if your long-ago college credits will transfer to a new college degree program, or if you could earn credit based on what you’ve learned outside the classroom (maybe from the School of Hard Knocks)? Plus, if you earned an associate degree at Ivy Tech Community College or Vincennes University, you might be already on the path to a four-year degree at many Indiana colleges or universities. Learn more at TransferIN.net.

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