You do not have to give up learning just because you have reached retirement age!
If anything, you should be taking advantage of the free time retirement gives you! And since these colleges offer free tuition to all senior-aged students, you can do just that with no stress about additional loans or anything else.
Maybe you’ve had a passion for a subject all your life and you would love to dive deeper into it, but you’re worried you cannot do that alone. Or you always dreamed of changing professions but were too scared to take the plunge while you were working. These fears are all understandable, and this is exactly why you should make the most out of your retirement years if you feel like now is the time to do it!
Not only do these colleges offer senior students the opportunity to earn credits and audit classes free of charge, but you can actually gather all the knowledge you would need to get a degree. All without the crippling student debt problem! Be it that you want to widen your horizons, advance in your career, or even just finish that degree you were forced to abandon back in the day, these colleges are your second chance to do just that!
Let us know what you would go back to a university to study, if you’d take advantage of the free tuition, and why in the comments down below!
#1 The University of Kentucky
Are you a fan of the Wildcats? Then this extra-special scholarship may make you an even bigger fan of the University of Kentucky! This special scholarship (the Donovan Scholarship) offers tuition waivers for adults 65 and older who wish to take academic classes at their university. And generally, it is pretty easy to get in: you have to meet the age criteria and, for the course you have chosen, have some availability.
Otherwise, this tuition waiver program is pretty relaxed: you can audit classes without earning credits, or you can get the credits without working towards earning a degree. There’s no need to work towards one in order to sit in on their classes, but if you do wish to get a degree, you will have to be accepted through the admissions process. Otherwise, there are no other requirements in order to audit classes. Make sure you read all about their scholarship on their website if it sounds like the right fit for you!
#2 The University of Illinois
What if it was your dream to settle down in the suburbs, but you’re still wishing to be able to join a university to further your education? The University of Illinois has got your back, as they have opened a program called Urbana-Champaign, which offers courses to senior citizens of Illinois from more than 150 undergraduate programs! You’re bound to find something exciting for you. It won’t be exactly in the hustle and bustle of the city, but you will be able to attend them despite not being in the middle of the action!
To be able to join in on all the fun, you have to make sure you’re a resident of the state, be 65 or older, and apply to and get accepted into the university. They also offer free-of-charge applications for financially struggling seniors, and if you meet all of these criteria, you can earn credits for both undergraduate and graduate courses tuition-free!
#3 The University of Arkansas
If you’ve ever looked into the University of Arkansas, you’ve probably heard of the Razorbacks. If not, that’s the university’s mascot, a feral hog, which they describe as “tenacious” and having “wild fighting ability.” Based on this majestic mascot, they have opened their Senior Razorback Program, which offers tuition-free access to courses for seniors, provided there are spaces left in them.
To be able to be part of the program, you will have to be a resident of the state, have your GED or high school diploma, and get admitted to the University of Arkansas. All details about the procedures, rules, and other information you may need if you’re looking into them are provided on their website on their page for senior graduate studies! Keep in mind that this waiver only covers tuition fees, and there are many other costs that you will have to cover by yourself (including the fees for textbooks and class supplies).
#4 The University of Delaware
Any Delaware resident over the age of 60 can take advantage of the University of Delaware’s program entitled Over-60 Tuition-Free Degree. This specially designed program will waive tuition fees for all seniors over the age of 60, allowing them to continue their education. The best part is that SATs are not part of the requirements, so all you need in terms of diplomas is either your high school one or the equivalent of one.
What’s more, you can apply online on their website no matter what semester application period you choose to enroll in, and once accepted, the senior students can choose any undergraduate or graduate degree without having to pay the course fees. However, they will have to pay for other expenses, such as service fees, the costs of dining on campus, and the textbooks required for each course.
#5 Free tuition for anyone: The University of Alaska
Everyone raves about how they’re going to be retiring to Florida, as it seems to be the most stereotypical place to retire to in the last few years. However, this is not the be-all and end-all of retirement destinations, and those of us who dislike warm climates may want to consider the Last Frontier State. To make the offer even more exciting, the University of Alaska offers free tuition to its senior students.
To be able to take advantage of this offer, you will have to have turned 65 by the first day of the starting semester, and senior students can be admitted to classes for only the courses that still have leftover availability. Moreover, the waiver doesn’t include course fees and surcharges, so you will have to be prepared to cover some costs, but in the grand scheme of things, it would be nothing next to tuition.
To see all their requirements for senior students, make sure you check the “Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver” tab on their website!
#6 The University of Maryland at College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park, has a very interesting program that they offer for seniors who wish to join in on their quest for knowledge. Called the Golden ID Card, it’s a special type of program that will waive the tuition fees for all students 60 or older, with some other stipulations for the ones that are eligible.
In order to be able to get into the program, you will have to be a resident of Maryland, be retired (which also means that you cannot be employed for more than 20 hours a week), and you also have to either be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident in the country! However, you will be able to register in both degree-seeking and non-degree-seeking programs, which broadens the scope of the programs you can join significantly.
Furthermore, Golden ID Card Program participants can enroll in up to three courses per semester and have unlimited access to all academic services on campus, including the library.
#7 Georgia Tech
If you were already living in Georgia or were considering changing your resident state, this would be a pretty good incentive to relocate already! The University System of Georgia is one of the universities that makes sure to sponsor their programs in the tech departments for the seniors who want to attend the graduate-level courses (provided there are enough spaces available in the course).
The catch is that you have to be over the age of 62 and a resident of Georgia! Which, depending on where you were planning to retire, may or may not be easy to achieve. Yet, it would be a pretty nice change of scenery if you’re not already living in this state, and the university is offering the Georgia Tech program to seniors too: the program was specially designed for students who are seeking to earn a graduate degree or even for those “special non-degree seeking” students.
If you’re lucky, the tuition fees may be waived even for some of the undergraduate coursework. Just make sure you ask their office and take it into consideration!
#8 The University of Connecticut
If you’re worried that getting a degree as a senior in Connecticut would be pretty hard, know that the state law has got your back. It is required by law that all higher education state institutions and the University of Connecticut waive tuition costs for all their senior students. In order to qualify for this tuition waiver system, you would have to be a resident of the state and have turned 62 before the classes of the first semester start.
It may appear that everything is already in your favor, but you must carefully read their terms and conditions. For example, eligible seniors must be enrolled in a program that will grant them a degree upon completion. Otherwise, if you’re enrolled in a non-degree-granting program, you may only join the programs that have spaces available after all the paying students have been enrolled.
What’s more, graduate certificate programs aren’t included, and the waiver only covers the cost of tuition for the fall and spring semesters! Although not the most amazing waiver, it is one you should consider!
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