Should Working Millennials Return to College to Finish a Degree?

It’s no secret that not everyone who starts college will finish with a degree. There are a variety of reasons that a person may not finish school, whether personal, academic, or financial. According to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, “6 out of 10 students who started at those schools will not have a degree after six years” and “on average, across institution types, about 1 in 5 part-time students finished a degree after six years.” For these students, not being able to finish their degree creates economic hardship – no degree and no career advancement.

But then again, even for many Millennials that do graduate from college, the debt from the experience has also created economic hardship without actually guaranteeing a well-paying job.

The entire higher educational system is dysfunctional, and when paired with a student’s own lack of personal responsibility or understanding of “real-world” business, tends to turn off returning students.

However, businesses around the world haven’t changed their college degree requirements, so returning to school becomes a more difficult question.

Are you a Millennial considering returning to college?

My niece is one of these working adults that was undecided about continuing her education. She asked me for my opinion on her decision to go back to school. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to give my niece advice for her future. The first step is always research, so we started looking at her options. First, we reviewed in-state schools, then looking into many of the 100% online schools around the country. For us, and for most returning students, it would’ve been superfluous to Ivy League schools or the like – it’s good to have aspirations, but on returning to school, know your limits and stay within your means.

Since my niece, like many returning college students, isn’t a full-time student on campus, her priorities are different than the undergrads that came straight out of high school. The educational process is different for working adult learners. Most working Millennials are not interested in student clubs or organizations, attending classes on campus to listen to a Professor or teachers’ assistant lecture for hours or the cost associated with sitting in a classroom. So, after reviewing a lot of colleges and universities a shortlist was created with these priorities in mind.

The shortlist

  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Duquesne University
  • Temple
  • Arizona State
  • Purdue Global
  • Colorado State University

And the Winner Is…

My niece chose to enroll at Colorado State University (CSU) to finish her bachelor’s degree. For us, the most attractive thing about CSU came straight from their website. Upfront, they make a straightforward pledge that there are no hidden costs, no attendance required on-campus and no required student events or memberships.

Unlike 85% of 4-year accredited universities, CSU Global charges $0 in student fees. No out-of-state fees, athletic fees, per-credit fees, or any other surprise charges. You know the cost of your education from the start. Another perk is that CSU offers fixed tuition from enrollment to graduation. While the national average cost of college tuition increases 8% each year, your CSU Global tuition is locked in and guaranteed as long as you’re enrolled. Although it was the no-frills messaging of their website that caught our attention, we came to find out that behind all of that, CSU has created an undergrad degree that fits into the lives of working Americans better than any of the other schools that we reviewed.

The healthcare industry is a fast-growing global business environment that will almost certainly continue to grow for the foreseeable future. A Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and Management on a resume will gain attention.  After all of these conversations and research about the pros and cons of returning to school, my niece decided to go back and finish her bachelor’s degree. She signed up for a financial plan to decrease cost, attends 100% online and is working toward a degree that will give her an advantage in seeking meaningful and gainful employment.

I want to note that I do not work for CSU, I’ve never been a student at CSU, nor do I necessarily think that they offer a better education than any other institution. For us, there were four specific reasons that made this school the best fit for my niece: the 100% online curriculum, the cost, the specific degree program based on her interest in the healthcare industry and the no-frills tuition and attendance policies.

If you’re considering returning to school, make a list of your priorities, and find the school that best fits with your life. There are seemingly endless options out there, so find out what you need, do your research and take charge of your future.


Dr. Jacqueline B. Lang
Dr. Jacqueline B. Lang
Dr. Jacqueline Lang MBA, MPA, MSED has 25+ years of leadership experience in various industries within Fortune 50, 500, 1000, and private organizations across the U.S. Along with exp. as a BUSN Professor, U.S. Congressional Campaign Manager, and proudly served in the U.S. Army Reserves. She is also a Partner & Board Member, Kiowa Cannabis and President/Founder,, a non-profit to empower women. An International Syndicated Columnist and Researcher of Women's Issues in multiple books and magazines as well as an Author, Amazon - COVID-19 A Mother's Journal along with other books. During her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two children.

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