Did You Know Many Public Colleges Offer a Senior Citizens’ Program?

Posted by Mike McQuinn on January 10, 2016 | no comments


Attending College as a Senior Citizen with Tuition Waiver Programs

If you are a senior citizen who loves to learn, then consider enrolling in classes at a local college. It is likely that you will not have to pay a lot of money to attend classes because many universities offer reduced prices for non-credited coursework. While it is true you won’t earn any credit or degrees from a university’s senior citizen learning program, you will receive other benefits. Many senior citizens develop dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease as they age, but there are new medical studies that reveal that keeping the brain active can help to prevent this from occurring.

Each State and College has its Own Requirements for Tuition Waivers

Mental depression, physical fatigue and chronic boredom is a common complaint for the baby boomer and elderly population, but there are many new subjects to learn at local community colleges and universities. It doesn’t matter if you always wanted to attend college but were not able to or if you want to go back to study different subjects than the ones you earned a degree in before because most states now have tuition waiver programs especially designed for students who are over age 59. Each state and college might have a different beginning age requirement, so it is important to check your region’s regulations.

How to learn about a College’s Senior Citizen Learning Program

There are several ways to find out the regulations in your state, including:

  • Conducting an Internet search for your state’s education department
  • Contacting the colleges and universities located near your home
  • Visiting a local college’s admission and financial assistance offices
  • Calling a public library’s telephone helpline to ask for information
  • Talking to other senior citizens who are enrolled in learning programs

It is important to understand the most recent regulations concerning a reduced or free waiver program at a university because the rules might change each semester or year. Some states require that the students enrolling in a tuition waiver program are over age 65 while others accept students who are age 62. You might need to prove that you are retired from a job or have a low income in order to enroll in the courses at a college.

Most Senior Citizens are Audit Students

In most cases, you will enroll only as an audit student who will not receive any credit or transcripts to prove you have attended a class. Depending on the college’s requirements, you might not need to take quizzes or tests the way traditional students do. A professor may not require you to submit research papers or go on field trips that are required to earn credit for the class. Despite a tuition waiver, you may need to pay a small fee to defray certain costs incurred by the educational institution. An example of this is in New Mexico where senior citizens pay only $5.00 to attend a class.

There are often Special Rules for Senior Citizens

An additional rule in Florida and other states includes not being able to enroll until after the class is filled with students who are paying full tuition rates. Some states, including Indiana require that a senior citizen not have a full-time job while enrolled in a tuition waiver program designed for senior citizens. Colleges or states may limit the number or percentage of students who can attend classes with a waiver program created for senior citizens.

Senior Citizens Living in Assisted Living Facilities are Eligible

The senior citizens living in assisted living environments are typically eligible for a college’s tuition waiver program, and it is often possible for several residents from one facility to register for the same class. By enrolling with friends, you might find it easier to travel to a college by carpooling or using public transportation. To make auditing classes more enjoyable, it is a good idea to have a textbook, but you can buy used ones at low prices. Meet with the professor to ask about their requirements for students who are auditing, and make sure to show up for classes on time. Most professors at colleges enjoy having older individuals in their classes, and you can also inspire younger students because of your desire to keep learning after retiring.

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