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A cornerstone of Bard College’s mission is a commitment to the transformative nature of a liberal arts education and the role of the liberally educated student in a democratic society. This power to transform extends to students beyond traditional college age and, for this reason, the College has historically been committed to programs that serve this population. For more than 30 years, it has done so under the aegis of the Continuing Studies Program. In 2007 the program was redesigned as the Returning to College Program (RCP).
RCP is founded on the premise that returning students benefit from participating in the regular undergraduate curriculum, taking their places at the seminar table, the lab bench, and the barre, and learning from and with their younger colleagues. At Bard, RCP students engage in a rigorous encounter with their courses of study. At the same time, Bard recognizes the real-world difficulties in asking adult students for this level of engagement. To this end, Bard is committed to making the return to college more cost-effective than a traditional undergraduate program and to providing academic and other support to students enrolled through this program. The Returning to College Program is for students who are at least 25 years of age and who have successfully completed some accredited college work.