Number of Degree-Seeking Adults on the Rise

Number of Degree-Seeking Adults on the Rise


MOUNT OLIVE- College classrooms are no longer exclusive to recent high school graduates. This year alone, at least 2,000 or more students at the University of Mount Olive will be considered non-traditional. Those students, with a median age of 31, will not only be trying to obtain a college education, but also balancing full-time jobs and family responsibilities.


According to Dr. Barbara Kornegay, vice president for Enrollment at UMO, the increase in working–age adults pursuing their college degrees is due to pressures in the job market where those with college degrees have enhanced promotion opportunities over workers with experience, but no degree.


With the number of adult learners is on the rise, colleges and universities are aware of the need for programs that are molded to meet the desires of this group. “Innovative, higher education institutions like the University of Mount Olive have improved access to education for adults by offering flexible programs that accommodate the complicated lifestyles of working adults,” Kornegay states.


UMO offers one-night-a-week baccalaureate degree programs which include accounting, business management, criminal justice and criminology, early childhood education, healthcare management, human resource management, management information systems, and religious studies.  An associate degree in general studies is also available.  These programs are offered at University of Mount Olive locations in Mount Olive, Jacksonville, New Bern, Research Triangle Park, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Smithfield at Johnston Community College, Washington, and Wilmington. The University also offers online programs including the RN to BSN program for registered nurses who have graduated with an associate degree or diploma in nursing, criminal justice and criminology, the associate degree in General Studies, and the Master of Business Administration degree.


Lori Harris earned both her undergraduate and MBA degrees from the University of Mount Olive at Wilmington.  Her education recently landed her an exciting new career opportunity as regional director for Team Highland, a southeastern, North Carolina restoration and renovation general contracting firm.

“I am grateful and honored to have been able to journey through this professional, and personal, growth process to acquire an exciting career position that offers me the opportunity to serve my goals, family, company, client satisfaction, and community,” said Harris.  “Without my two degrees from the University of Mount Olive, I would not be as successful as I currently am and will be in the years to come.”

Alonzo Jaynes, a University of Mount Olive at RTP alumnus, is also grateful for his degree from UMO and believes that it aided him in landing the position of assistant chief with the Chapel Hill Police Department.

“I believe that UMO gave me the tools necessary to take on and tackle major projects,” said Jaynes. “The classes and professors at UMO provided me with the perfect education for my career needs. I have to say that, without a degree from UMO, I would not have been as marketable. The courses I took, the commitment it took to complete the program, and the overall experience of learning prepared me for promotional assessment centers, job effectiveness, and the courage to think outside of the box to accomplish departmental goals.”


“It’s all about packaging our programs to meet the needs of our students,” states Dr. Paul Rutter, director of the Evening College at UMO in Mount Olive.  “Most of our students have jobs, families and other obligations that they cannot walk away from.  Whatever their situations are, we work with them to accommodate their needs.”


Lisa Nuesell, dean of extended education at UMO said, “Students and their families should consider the cost of a college education as an investment that provides personal and financial dividends for a lifetime. In both earning potential and learning potential, you cannot beat the value of a college education.”


The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit

Pictured is University of Mount Olive Early Childhood Education Instructor Gail Herring working with two UMO Evening College students.