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Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0001-7740-8010

Abstract

As higher education institutions compete to gain competitive advantage in the areas of student enrolment, engagement, graduate numbers, and programme delivery, are these institutes at risk of missing out on one of the largest growing markets? The cohort of persons aged 65 years and over, is expected to double in size by 2040. But the cohort of those who are currently aged 55+ years is not extensively targeted by higher education institutions globally. Platitudes about ‘mature students’ are often used when discussing this demographic, but educational departments identify any person over 23 years as a ‘mature’ student. Hence, is this term truly targeting the senior population and lifelong learning curiosity? Persons who are 65 years have a lifetime of experience at the time of their retirement, and on average have an additional 20 years in which to share that experience with rates of volunteering highest among the 65 to 74 year old age group [1]. By identifying the barriers of the 50+ year’s cohort to transition to education in different forms and different levels, we can prepare the ground work for easing their inclusion in higher education institutions at, or before retirement.

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