Adult Learning

Build Momentum

Adult learners from all walks-of-life come to North Central (NC) State College to imagine a positive future, develop creative- and critical-thinking skills, and acquire practical experiences to make their dreams and dream-jobs a reality.

Adult learners choose NC State for many different reasons. Some got busy living life during or after high school and did not go straight to college. Some had to stop college after attending for a semester or more because of life circumstances—like work, family, parenting, caregiving, or military service. Some are looking to enhance their job skills, to change careers, or to pursue a passion. Whatever your reason, welcome. Or welcome back. You’ve come to the right place.

  • Most adult learners at NC State experience a return on investment immediately—while they are going through the college experience. Many get internships and complete courses that lead to professional certificates that many employers reward with an increase in pay and position. You might also earn multiple certificates (called “stacked” certificates) as you work toward a two-year associate’s degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, and more. Many of our certificate programs are eligible for financial aid.

    In addition, we have labor-market data about your earning potential with local employers. With certificates and degrees from NC State, you will experience a long-term return on investment as well. Most of our courses are transferrable to other colleges and universities, which means you’ll spend less time and money as you pursue more education and career advancement.

  • Many adult learners juggle a number of commitments and responsibilities, including family, work, and college classes. Many also participate in a faith community and volunteer for charitable organizations. Adult learners often have lives full of rich experiences, which can feel a bit complex and overwhelming at times. That’s why NC State provides you with solid relationships. Each student has access to advisors and other “go-to” people who provide guidance and support (e.g., success coaches, academic liaisons, tutors).

    We also offer options for evening, online, and on-campus classes and opportunities to expand your personal and professional networks through study groups, student organizations, and work experiences in the community. For those who need help with basic needs like food, clothing, housing, medicine, and transportation, we have on-campus resources like a food pantry, childcare services, counseling services, and transportation subsidies. We also provide referrals to off-campus community services that can help you through a job loss or layoff, a reduction in income, a housing crisis, and emergency repairs for your car.

  • There are many ways to minimize and manage the cost of your NC State experience. We often give adult learners college credit for their life experiences, which may reduce the number of courses you’ll be required to take and pay for. The FastPath Ohio online tool helps us determine if life experiences like employment history, job responsibilities, and military service will count for college credits.

    Compared to other colleges in Ohio, NC State has high-value, low-cost tuition—approximately $172 per credit hour. Courses are highly transferrable to other institutions. And many forms of financial aid are available and accepted: examples include Federal work-study; Federal, state, and private scholarships, grants, and loans; and tuition-reimbursement programs from employers, including a deferred tuition-reimbursement plan.

  • Short-term Certificate Program Scholarship

    This special scholarship, funded by the state of Ohio, provides up to $2,000 to pay for the cost of tuition, fees and educational materials for more than 20 certificates in business, IT, manufacturing and social work. Qualifying is easy and does not require filing for federal financial aid, though this could be stacked with federal aid. Simply fill out the short information sheet. Then securely upload the sheet and any required documentation.

    • Criteria and list of eligible certificates
    • Download the Short-Term Certificate Scholarship Application PDF (PDF), opens in a new window form here. Documentation can be one of the following:
    • After you complete and save the application form, scan and email it in as an attachment  with  your documentation to
      • Annual Household Income/household size-  Submit  2021/22 FAFSA  for summer 2022 or a  2022/23 FAFSA for fall 2022-summer 2023 or  submit a copy of your most recent Federal Tax Return (please cross out SS# prior to sending it in).
      • Student unemployment as result of COVID – Submit copies of unemployment documentation
      • Reduction of hours as a result of COVID –  Submit documentation on letterhead from your HR office that you are experiencing a reduction of hours due to COVID crisis
      • Documentation that you are receiving one of the following:  TANF, SNAP, WIC programs.  Information must have your name on it.

    Certificate Overview Sheet (PDF)

    Once we have the application and documentation, we can let you know if you are eligible for these funds!

  • Believe in the power of your mind and in your ability to learn, change, and grow. Develop relationships with advisors, staff, faculty, and fellow students. Ask a lot of questions. Tell us the story of your current circumstances and dreams. Collaborate with us to develop your plan for academic, financial, and career success. And be positive and persistent. We can help. According to the Adult Learner 360 Student Survey (AL-360), we score very high on the level of support that we provide to students, so take advantage of this. Think of this website as your gateway for success and a tool for managing your NC State experience.