College Responds to Needs of Degree-Seeking Adults

In today’s competitive college environment, adult learners, often called non-traditional students, make up a large and growing segment of the population. Many of these students have special needs, including limited budgets, demanding professional workloads and time constraints.

This year alone, approximately 3,000 students at University of Mount Olive’s seven locations throughout eastern North Carolina will be considered non-traditional. Those students, with a median age of 31, will not only be seeking a college education, but also balancing full-time jobs and family responsibilities.

Thirty two year old Darrell Vann Elks of Grimesland is a perfect example. Elks wanted to further his education, but it was difficult to attend college while working a full time job to support a growing family. “I didn’t want to go the traditional route and take multiple years to earn my bachelor’s degree,” said Elks. So, he enrolled in the accelerated program at University of Mount Olive at Washington. After his first year of classes, he received a highly sought-after promotion at his job. “I know that I would not have had this opportunity without University of Mount Olive.”

Serving the educational needs of Beaufort, Pitt and surrounding counties since 2005, University of Mount Olive at Washington has a complete line of programs for working adults.

“It’s all about packaging our programs to meet the needs of our students,” states Lita Ward, director of the University of Mount Olive at Washington. “Just because students have passed the ‘traditional’ age of going to college, shouldn’t mean they have burnt their bridge to a degree. At University of Mount Olive, we have been successful by working strategically to offer an exceptional student experience, being flexible to their needs and providing more diverse program options.”

According to Ward, MOC Washington offers classes in spring, summer and fall semesters in five week increments. A student takes one class, one-night-a-week from 6 to 10 p.m. for five weeks. Then they move on to the next class. “It’s a lot easier to juggle one class at a time for a working adult,” Ward said. “Of course, there is some work that has to be done outside the classroom, but for a working adult, it’s great to have all the hours put into one night a week.”

MOC also offers some classes online for additional convenience. For those who don’t have internet access, University of Mount Olive has a computer lab available for students. Students can also use the facility, complete with Wi-Fi, to study any time during the work week.

Students can choose from a wide variety of classes. Degrees are available in Business Management, Accounting, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Early Childhood Education, Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management, Management Information Systems, and Religious Studies. For the adult with little or no college credit, the Associate in General Studies offers the core courses needed for an associate’s degree.

Because members of the non-traditional programs at University of Mount Olive are considered full-time students, if they qualify, they can receive a significant amount of financial aid. “Our goal is to help students find adequate financial resources to attend University of Mount Olive,” states Katrina Lee, director of Financial Aid. “By combining institutional scholarships and grant programs with federal and state assistance and installment payment options, MOC makes college possible for deserving and qualified students.”

University of Mount Olive at Washington is located at 4525 US Hwy 264 West in Washington. For more information, contact Lita Ward at

University of Mount Olive is a private, liberal arts institution dedicated to the total development of its students in an environment nurtured by Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington, and Jacksonville. For more information, visit