Education at a university level is something that many seniors decide is an important investment for their lives. However, it is difficult for many of them to afford these classes, especially if they are simply interested in education, not job training. Thankfully, free and reduced-cost college courses are available for seniors across the nation. These courses are offered by accredited universities and are a great way for seniors to attend the university of their dreams or even achieve a bachelor, master, or doctorate degree. Understanding these courses requires understanding why they are offered, how seniors can attend these courses, and any limitations on their course work. For example, some universities may waive fees for courses that don't provide college credit. These limitations are important to know before diving head-first into the world of higher education for seniors.
Universities often offer a variety of discounted rates, tuition decreases, and scholarships to seniors to promote a more educated populace. They also believe in helping seniors start a new career and think that they can offer worthwhile contributions to the economy and the work world.
There are several different ways that seniors can attend university for free. These include: tuition waivers; course audits; scholarships; and even inexpensive online courses. Each of these methods has their advantages and disadvantages that make them worth considering.
Tuition waivers are offered by universities as a way of helping seniors and others pay very little for college. All tuition fees will be waived based on a variety of requirements, some of which may limit their usefulness. While seniors must pay for books and supplies, this is an inexpensive way to go to university.
While 60 percent of all universities in the nation offer these programs, only 50 students typically take advantage of it. Why? Some universities limit the courses that can be offered, such as restricting it to non-credit courses. Others will put a salary cap on the waivers, meaning many seniors may make too much money to qualify.
Course auditing consists of attending a class at a university without doing homework and exams. Generally, you will not receive credit for these courses, but this is a way for seniors to be introduced to new ideas and concepts. It gives them an insight into a course and helps them decide if they want to attend or not.
Course auditing is perfect for seniors who simply want to learn, but not for those who want a degree. Basically, think of it as a sort of senior learning course or a social club to get a feel for what to expect when auditing a course. Most universities will waive the tuition fee for course auditing, but not all states allow this, so make sure to double check.
Every year, a variety of universities and educational groups offer hundreds of scholarships to senior citizens. To qualify, you must be above the age of 60 and must meet the requirements of the individual scholarships. These qualifications will vary depending on each scholarship, but these limitations are typically spelled out on the application form.
Scholarships can have severe rules that may be difficult for many seniors to follow. For example, they may require a certain grade point average to stay in effect. They may also require a senior to take a certain amount of credit hours. Make sure to read the fine print before choosing to apply to a scholarship to avoid these pitfalls.
Online college courses are a great way to educate seniors who want to stay at home to learn or who can't afford to travel. They are generally offered at a very discounted price to seniors and may even be completely waived. Online courses do require a strong sense of personal commitment and focus, but it is a perfect way for many seniors to get free or heavily discounted university education.