At a community or technical college it's not uncommon to see students young and old in the same classroom. Even so, Betty Granger stands out at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). The 62-year-old from Pataskala is attending COTC full time thanks to the Licking County Senior Levy Scholarship.
In 2014, Granger found herself unemployed in the rocky real estate business where she most recently worked at a small title agency. A state employment agency recommended that she check out programs for reeducation at local colleges, and that is how she came to COTC.
"In my younger days, I was up to the competitive challenge of the real estate field," said Granger. "Now my motivation is not a career with high earnings potential. It's to do something I want to do – not for money, but satisfaction."
Granger has completed four semesters on a scholarship for senior citizens. The Licking County Senior Levy Scholarship was established by the Licking County Board of Commissioners and is granted annually to Licking County residents age 60 or older that enroll in a degree or certificate program at COTC or The Ohio State University at Newark.
Granger, who initially sought job training, credits the scholarship for making it possible to pursue a degree full time. She is currently working toward an Associate of Arts at COTC, and then plans to transfer to Ohio State Newark to complete a bachelor's degree in social work. She has maintained a 3.5 GPA through a lot of studying and hard work, and a little bit of help.
"Everyone is well aware that I'm the senior," said Granger. "I'm comfortable doing what I'm doing. I've learned from many of the students as much as they've learned from my experiences. I very much enjoy my classes."
Having been out of school for a long time, Granger said she was not quite ready to take on math and science. She had to take some pre-college level courses to refresh her skills. However, it was the younger students that stepped up to help: A high school senior "math whiz" helped her pass an algebra course. The experience has required her to stay focused and keep her mind sharp. "It's been healthy for me," she said.
Granger is just one of five students over the age of 60 enrolled this past spring semester. After raising two daughters, putting them through school and caring for her late husband, Granger simply said "It's my turn."
Senior citizens interested in the scholarship can apply now. Applications are available in the Office of Financial Aid, located in Hopewell Hall on the shared campus of COTC and Ohio State Newark, or online at cotc.edu/scholarships or newark.osu.edu/scholarships. Autumn semester classes begin Aug. 23, 2016.
Photo caption: Licking County Commissioner Duane Flowers with 2015-16 Licking County Senior Levy Scholarship recipient Betty Granger.
Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At COTC, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. Ohio State Newark offers the best of the Big Ten educational experience, access to Ohio State's 200 majors, a rich research heritage and academic excellence.