Returning to school with the responsibilities of a mature student is very difficult. Yet, every year Holland College recognizes hundreds of successful learners. What are some supports that assist learners on this difficult path? What type of supports can individuals access in this province? To what extent do these supports help defray the costs — financial and otherwise — of upgrading one’s education?
For the purpose of this study, the term ‘financial cost’ will refer to expenses that an individual incurs in addition to their regular expenses and as a result of their enrolment in Adult Education at Holland College. Examples of such cost categories are transportation, child care, health costs, tutoring, and loss of wages or benefits. The term ‘non-financial cost’ will refer to more social areas of students’ lives such as family time, personal life, social interactions and emotional health. I am interested to know, what impact does returning to school have on the family dynamic, personal time, emotional and physical health of adult learners. In terms of ‘supports’, what resources do adult learners have to cope with the costs of returning to school?
Each learner enters an adult education program with their own goals and their own unique set of circumstances. What effect does the level of support have on a learner who is setting an education or career goal that will impact the rest of his/her life? Do individuals with fewer supports set their goals lower than what they actually desire?
Question 1: What are the financial costs associated with pursuing education as an Adult Education student at Holland College? What supports do learners have in place to offset such costs?
Question 2: What are the non-financial costs associated with pursuing education as an Adult Education student at Holland College? What supports do learners experience to lessen the effect of these costs?
Question 3: Do financial/non-financial costs shape learners’ long-term goals? If additional resources were available to support learners, would their educational and/or career goals be different than those identified at the time of enrollment?