At 62, Atlanta man returns to college tuition-free thanks to state seniors program

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) — An Atlanta man is returning to college at the ripe old age of 62, and a state program gives him a golden opportunity.

When Jeff Criswell turns 64 in two years, he won’t be considering retirement. Instead, hopes to start a new career as a high school English teacher.

“Most people my age think about how much golf they can play or move to Florida to retire, God bless them,” Criswell said. “I think of the Beatles song, ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’.”

Criswell enjoyed some success during his years of life, selling a brand of baseball to a major retail store in the 90s and earning his master’s degree in 2001 at the age of 40. writer.” He said he wanted to do something more meaningful. So he’s going back to school.

Criswell was recently accepted into the teaching program at Kennesaw State University.

“At this point, people my age have so much to give,” he said. “There is so much life experience.”

In Georgia, residents age 62 and older can enroll in classes, tuition-free, at any of the 31 colleges and universities in the Georgia University System. Books and other fees are not included.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of someone using the program to become a teacher,” said Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Association of Educators.

Morgan said she admires anyone who enters the teaching profession. Georgia has faced a teacher shortage since before the pandemic, but the health crisis has exacerbated the loss, according to Morgan. A recent national survey showed that 55% of educators are considering leaving the profession early.

“We need to make changes in our profession and our schools that make education an attractive profession,” Morgan said.

For Criswell, who had never considered teaching until now, he hopes the trip will have an impact.

“I think there’s a lot of energy in a school,” he says. “I hope I will be someone you can relate to.”

If you are a Georgia resident aged 62 and over and would like to learn more about the requirements to attend schools in the public system, click here.

About Mark A. Tomlin

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