Back to school for Zoomers – ZoomerU

Back to school for Zoomers

With summer drawing to a close, the back-to-school ads are increasing in their frequency, as expected. Whether the students are kindergartners or college freshmen, the preparations are under way. But as the students head back to the classrooms, we should take a moment to recognize an under-reported group — “older” Canadians.

Each year, there is an increase in the  number of Canadian Zoomers (45+) going back to school. It’s a trend across the entire continent, driven by a combination of factors:

  • The attitudes of Zoomers themselves, particularly the Baby Boomer segment (age 46-66) – a desire to stay active and engaged, to keep discovering;
  • A workplace that demands constant upgrading of skills;
  • A growing awareness by universities and colleges that the Zoomer market represents an important growth opportunity – particularly with the rapid development of online learning, making it possible to reach more people and with more flexible learning formats.

How many students are we talking about?

According to Vividata Summer 2018, over 400,000 Zoomers reported attending education institutions. Of these, 203,000 were aged 50-64 and 68,000 were aged 65+. What’s more, they are taking advantage of technology to make things easier: almost 100,000 are participating in online courses.

Universities and colleges have rushed to create continuing education programs and some, like Ryerson’s Raymond Chang School, have added specific branding and promotion that identifies course for the 50-plus. There are also numerous reduced tuition packages and  even free tuition for seniors (for example, at York University).

“Lifelong education” used to be a vague catch. As the Zoomers continue to reinvent aging, it’s becoming a concrete reality.

Today's Factoid


That's how many Zoomers plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months. It's more than any other age group. Source: Vividata Spring 2021