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84-year-old proves 'you're never too old' to go back to school


Janet Fein will graduate from Texas university with a bachelor's degree in sociology

Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Janet Fein graduated from high school in 1951.

Now, 67 years later, Fein will fulfill this week her long-held dream of graduating from college with a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Texas at Dallas.

"You're never too old to keep on learning," she told the university during an interview. "That's very important to me, and that's what this school has done for me."

The 84-year-old Fein will be the oldest of 2,800 students who are participating in the school's fall commencement ceremonies on Wednesday.

What's the story?

In 2012, Fein began taking courses at UTD. The mother of five was 78 at the time and had recently retired from her secretarial job at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, according to the university.

"I didn't have anything to do in retirement and I didn't think that playing bingo was up to my speed," Fein told KXAS-TV.

Fein had received an associate's degree in 1995 from Dallas County Community College District.

For her bachelor's degree, she participated in a state program that waives the tuition for students over 65. Participants can take up to six hours each semester and must maintain a minimum GPA.

But Fein faced a number of challenges during the course of her studies as her health declined. She went from being able to walk and drive herself to school to using a walker and eventually needing a wheelchair.

Eventually, she moved into an assisted living facility and had to take independent study classes from home. Still, she maintained a 3.2 GPA and reached her goals.

"I didn't know if I could do it," Fein told the university. "The standards at UTD are high. I didn't know if I could meet them or not, but I found that I could."

She will finally receive her hard-earned college degree Wednesday.

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