During pandemic, more adults are returning to school

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A recent survey shows more adults are deciding to go back to school during the pandemic.

One local university student spoke with KTSM 9 News to explain how they are adjusting to attending school during this time.

“I decided to take a leap of faith and you know what? I’m going to finish school,” said Krista Perea.

Perea decided to get an associate’s degree as an X-ray technician. She was let go from her job due to COVID-19 and she realized that she needed to change her career path.

“It’ll be worth it for that extra income, for your own satisfaction,” she said.

A survey by Student Loan Hero shows that more than 40 percent of Americans under 40 are looking into going back to school during the pandemic, many of them to increase their income.

New Mexico State University responded to the need by creating a program with an eight-week term instead of the regular 16-week terms. Doing so accomodates adult learners aged 23 and older.

“We’re just moving into that direction to assist those adult learners to accelerate in their career paths,” said NMSU’s Vice Provost for Digital Learning Initiatives Sherry Kollmann.

She said the outreach has exceeded the school’s expectations, but with more demand, they are expanding to offer more programs.

“So that they can go out and get that job sooner, so they don’t have to wait four years to be able to return that investment,” Kollmann said.

Perea said that despite not being in the typical college age group, she feels inspired to finish her degree.

“It doesn’t mean the age, the time, it’s at your pace,” she said.

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