Your active senior community keeps you busy. You spend your days playing Bocce Ball, cruising around in your golf cart, swimming laps, and attending community-wide social events. Your body has stayed active—but what about your mind?
In fact, your mind is in luck. As an adult who's reached the age of 60, you have more access to educational opportunities than ever before. If only college had been this cheap when you were 20, right? Below are five incredible ways to get access to university-quality courses and lectures, for free.
#1: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
This organization's official slogan is 'No tests, no papers, and no grades.' Essentially, it's a foundation that partners with universities in all 50 states to offer very low-cost courses exclusively for seniors. A typical situation works like this: you pay around $30 to meet three or four times in a small group with a tenured faculty member from your local state university. Visit the Institute's website today for a full list of opportunities near your active senior community.
#2: Tuition waivers from nearby universities
Almost three-quarters of all accredited universities in the U.S. provide tuition waivers for older adults, according to the American Council on Education. You'll still have to pay some assorted fees—universities love your money—but these tend to be nominal. This is definitely the option to choose if you want to receive real college credits for the work you're doing.
Never heard of a MOOC before? It stands for Massively Open Online Course—what that means in practice is that professors who teach online courses at top universities are able to open those courses up, for free, to the public. You can choose between hundreds of courses from Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and others. You won't receive college credit at the end of the course, but you will get a certificate of completion, signed by the professor. Head over to Coursera or edX to view available courses.
#4: Community colleges
This classic option is still available. It's still cost-effective, too. If there isn't a university near you that offers free tuition for seniors, a community college is the next best thing. Who knows, maybe you'd even prefer a community college setting to that of a university, because of its smaller class sizes or more diverse peer group.
#5 Audit a course
Although most colleges and universities have existing protocols for community members wishing to audit courses, you can also just arrange this kind of thing with a professor. First, find a course that interests you on the university's website. Then, email the professor and see if you can get in. You won't receive credit for auditing a course, but then again, you won't pay anything, either.
For even more information about taking free college classes while living in an active senior community, check out our blog.