This case tracks a woman named Jodi as she dreams of going back to school in her early 30s to become a nurse. Jodi had put off higher education for 15 years after she became pregnant with her son as a junior in high school. But now, with her son only a few years away from leaving the house for college himself, Jodi wants to improve both her future and the $30,000 income she currently earns as an administrative assistant at a small health clinic. Jodi calls her friend Tameka, a cashier at a local supermarket who had recently gone back to school to become a pharmacist. Tameka suggests that Jodi meet with a college adviser to learn more about her options. This case is best used in a non-MBA course on financial literacy, or in other educational settings wherein learners are exploring resilience, especially navigating returning to the educational system as an adult.
An important teaching objective for this case is to inform students of the various educational options available to them, which can demonstrably further their career and incomes. Students should come away from this case understanding that many options exist (e.g., financial aid, flexible time commitment, and online versus classroom experiences) to help people achieve academic goals in a way that fits their life obligations. Comparing the various costs and benefits of schooling options for Jodi should help students approximate a similar decision for themselves.