Mature students and life-long learning
Life-long learning promotes training throughout one's life and therefore the existence of mature students. Mature students are those who attend courses of study designed primarily for those considerably younger than they. Typically they are twice as old as the normal students. In the UK, the university of the third age refers to courses catered to retirees.
Around this time in London, I spot all sorts of bank offers to new students in full-time education. The offers specifically include mature students. Natwest Bank, for instance, offers discount railcards for up to five years, worth up to 100 pounds in total. The so-called young person's railcard that gives a third off standard fares mentions mature students which are over the age limit of 25. Student loans, career development loans, and students grants have no age limit because of the entry of mature students. This is very encouraging until I discover that such offers apply only to students registered at UK academic institutions.
In Holland, grants for undergraduate students are not available to those over 34. Grant-recipients get heavily discounted train fares and free public transport.
I remember walking into a Dutch bank to enquire about special offers for student accounts. Personal bank accounts are not free like those in the UK. There is also a separate charge for internet banking. A lady in her twenties looked at me in the eye and asked for my age. Without hesitation, she apologised that students accounts are only for those people aged 27 or less.
Obviously life-long learning and mature students have not caught on in the Netherlands. No wonder the conservatories I applied to last year had difficulty understanding why I would want to get a degree when I already have three.
1 September 2004 Wednesday
Mature students often have different objectives from normal students.
Having built a career elsewhere and acquired substantial life experiences compared to normal students, they might return to school to fulfill a dream, patch holes in the understanding of a discipline, use the education to change direction, etc.
They may be attending university for the first or second time.