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76-year-old Non-Traditional College Student Earning Online Masters


Bernard “Bernie” Clarfield is 76 years old, and he’s a college student. Yes, you read that right. A 76-year-old college kid.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 70% of today’s college kids are not “kids” at all, but students over the age of 24. Non-traditional and older students have long turned to online learning to solve access issues and to juggle their work and career.

Even so, Clarfield is a rarity. He is an excellent example of that old adage, “It is never too late to learn.” Also, in Clarfield’s case, it is never too late to learn how to master new educational technologies. The senior citizen is majoring in distance learning technologies.

Most non-traditional students study online to solve access and time issues due to work and family. Clarfield, who is retired, does not have children at home or job obstacles to hurdle. He just loves to learn.

According to the news site TCPalm, Clarfield is completing his distance learning masters degree in instructional systems through Florida State University ‘s online campus.

FSU’s master in distance learning is one of 93 Online Masters in Education on Get Educated’s online college rankings list of the most affordable online degree programs nationwide for educators and teachers.

Clarfield, who dropped out of high school at age 17 to join the military, says his two sons, who are college educated, reminded him of his dream to keep on learning.

A resident of Palm City, Florida, Clarfield is interning at a local library, studying distance learning techniques, and teaching local patrons how to use e-readers to access information and entertainment.


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