Retirement may offer you opportunities you could not imagine it can offer. For example, you can go back to school and even earn a college degree on the specialty you always wanted, but never had time and money for. Yes, some did not have the opportunity to get a college or graduate degree when you were younger. Others never developed a real interest in learning until they reached mid-life or later. But now finding those in their sixties, seventies, and eighties in college class rooms is no longer so unusual.
Teachers will often say that having some older students in class benefits the whole class. Elders are serious about their studies and once they get past any initial shyness, they make valuable contributions to discussions and ask useful questions that many of the younger students just do not raise at all.
Educating those over age 60 is so important that many states and provinces offer free tuition to resident seniors. More than one person approaching retirement has chosen the place of their retirement because of the educational benefits available to instate residents. There are so many scholarships and grants in aid available that matching individuals with programs has become a small industry in itself.
Senior Citizens College Scholarships
Senior citizens can search for college scholarships offered just for them. Some businesses and universities, for example, offer special scholarships for seniors. Beyond scholarship money designated for senior citizens, one can look into awards offered to all adults. It is wise to keep in mind that beyond tuition there will be other fees, supplies, and books for which you will need to pay. Often students apply for and are awarded multiple types of money for school.
Discounts and Financial Aid for Mature Adults
Often, public colleges will waive tuition for senior citizens. A number of states have statewide public college tuition waiver programs for senior citizens. Some offer discounts to senior citizens. Many community colleges also waive tuition for senior citizens or charge reduced rates. One should also ask about these deals and for life experience degree credits.
Alternative Education Ideas for Seniors
If one does not need a college degree, but simply wishes to learn, senior citizens may be able to audit classes for free or at reduced prices. When auditing a class, the student has the choice of taking or not taking exams, writing papers, or doing other class work.
Another choice is taking continuing education classes exclusively for “mature” adults (often 50 and older). These types of classes generally run four to eight weeks and may or may not offer credits. These courses can also be a good way to meet new friends with similar ages and interests.
Many programs for senior citizens are not well known or publicized, so it is always a good idea to call around or search online.
Online Degree Programs and Courses
There are many college and university online bachelors degree programs and other classes available on the web. For Internet-savvy or homebound seniors (or even for those hoping to save on gasoline costs, etc.), this can be a viable option. Scholarships, grants, discounts, college loans, or other financial aid may still apply. Today, complete online bachelor degree programs and graduate degree programs are offered online. When searching for online degree programs, one should find out if the college or university is accredited.
State education grants for elderly (by State)
Alabama. A free tuition program for senior citizens (persons aged 60 or over) who meet the admission requirements and attend public two-year post secondary institutions in Alabama.
Alaska. University of Alaska waives regular tuition for Alaska residents at the age of full Social Security retirement benefits who register on the first day the class meets on a space available basis when courses can accommodate such students in addition to other enrolled students.
Arkansas. University of Arkansas offers Arkansas residents free tuition. U of A is encouraging all Arkansas resident who are age 60 or older to sign up for credit courses, and even earn a degree, without paying anything.
California. While there is no centralized tuition waiver program for adult citizens of California, there are multiple colleges offering free classes. For example, Palo Alto College offers various courses for senior citizens at no cost where space is available.
Connecticut. Free tuition is offered for those who are 62 years old or older at the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State University and the 12 community colleges.
Delaware. The University of Delaware offers a Higher Education for Senior Citizens program whereby citizens of the State of Delaware who are 60 years of age or older, and are formal degree candidates may attend classes for credit tuition free. They must pay all applicable fees except the Admission Application, Readmission Application, Advance Standing, Student Teaching, and New Student Orientation Fee.
Georgia. Any resident of Georgia who is 62 or older may enroll in any state college or university for free.
Indiana. Purdue University has a tuition rebate program for seniors who are retired, at least 60 years old and citizens of the state.
Kentucky. The University of Louisville The University offers tuition remission to individuals who are classified by admissions as residents of Kentucky and are at least 65 years of age on, or before, the first day of classes for the semester.
Louisiana. Louisiana Delta College - Students who are fifty-five years or older and are Louisiana residents may register for one three-hour course and be exempt from the payment of tuition.
Maryland. University of Maryland Maryland College . At late registration, seniors 60 years old, who are residents of Maryland. U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, not employed more than 20 hours a week and meet regular admissions requirements may register for up to 7 credits each semester--on a space available basis--without paying tuition.
Michigan. Lansing community college offers 50% tuition discount for those who are age 62 or older.
Minnesota. Minnesota state law allow persons 62 and older to register on the second day of the class in credit (degree, certificate) courses for $9 per credit or audit courses free of charge on a space-available basis.
Missouri. State law states that state resident who is age 65 by August 1 of the school year, shall receive a full tuition scholarship at any state institution.
Montana. Any state resident at least 65 years of age receives a waiver of fees at state schools of higher education.
Nevada. University of Nevada - Seniors 62 years of age or older may register without paying per-credit registration fees. Special course fees, nonresident tuition (if applicable) and deposits are not waived.
New Hampshire. University of New Hampshire - residents who are age 65 or older and are not enrolled in a degree program are eligible to take a maximum of two credit-bearing courses* per academic year (Summer/Fall/Spring) tuition-free.
New Jersey. Rutgers University - Seniors who are 62 or older may attend courses on a space-available, non credit basis.
New Mexico. Each public post-secondary degree-granting institution in New Mexico must grant a reduction in tuition to senior citizens upon request by the student. The charge will be $5 per credit hour. Students may take up to2 courses per semester.
New York - Hostos College - Residents of New York City who are 60 years of age or older who are not pursuing a degree may study tuition-free at the college upon the payment of a $65 fee on a space-availability basis.
Ohio - In Ohio, senior citizens are eligible to audit college courses at many local schools for free. Referred to as Program 60, any person 60 and older who has been a resident of Ohio for more than 1 year can apply to audit a college course.
- Bloomburgh University - Pennsylvania residents age 60 and older and retired are admitted to classes on a space-available basis. Tuition is free for credit-bearing courses
- Luzern University - Senior citizen status at the Community College is for those who have reached the age of 62 years. A senior citizen will be given a tuition waiver when the College meets the minimum number of paid enrollments for the class.
- Northampton Community College - In-county residents who are 65 years of age or older qualify for a tuition and fee waiver for Credit courses (noncredit does not qualify for a waiver). The waiver must be requested by the student at the time of registration.
South Carolina - University of South Carolina - Senior Citizens (age 60 and older) are entitled to enroll on a space-available basis without the required payment of tuition.
- University of Huston Downtown - Senior citizens 65 years or over may audit
- San Antonio college - San Antonio College offers tuition-free attendance to senior citizens on a space available basis. You need to apply with the instructor of the program you desire on the first day of class
Utah - University of Utah - If you're 62 or older and a resident of Utah, you may audit many regular University classes numbered 1000 or above for a mere $25 per semester in addition to any special fee attached to the class.
West Virginia University - Senior citizens of West Virginia (age 65 and older) who meet WVU residency requirements may now take courses at West Virginia University for reduced tuition and fees. In addition, the courses can be taken for credit or no credit. Application available on line at Senior application
Wisconsin -University of Wisconsin Waukesha - Senior citizens may audit courses at no charge.
Wyoming - Eastern Wyoming University - State residents age 60 or older may enroll in courses at no charge.
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