There are numerous advantages to seeking higher education at any age. Even when you are in your 50s, 60s and beyond, you can benefit from taking college courses. Taking a class can freshen your skills, provide opportunities for socialization, enhance confidence, help prevent cognitive decline and more.
And when you can take free college courses, why not do so?
Free College Courses Are Available Across The U.S.
There are ways for senior citizens to gain college-level instruction at no charge or deeply discounted rates across the country. Following are some options for free college courses in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Not all of these options allow you to earn college credits for free college courses, but you can still reap many benefits from attending classes and absorbing new skills and ideas.
Alabama residents age 60 or older who qualify for the Senior Adult Scholarship Program can receive a tuition waiver at two-year public colleges. Contact the financial aid office at your community college to determine if you qualify.
The University of Alaska Board of Regents offers university tuition waivers to senior residents. Anyone 65 or older can qualify for free tuition across the UA system. The free college courses are on a space-available basis on or after the first day of instruction. Also, the waiver only covers tuition and not other campus or course fees.
While this state doesn’t appear to offer free college courses, there are several affordable options for seniors. Maricopa, Pima and Mesa Community Colleges all offer 50% discounts on tuition to senior students. For Pima Community College, you must be 55 years old or older; for Maricopa and Mesa, 65 is the required age.
Arizona State University and the University of Arizona also offer university-quality, noncredit classes for students 50 and up through the Osher Lifelong Learning program, starting at $14 a class.
Students age 60 or older with a high school diploma or GED can receive a waiver at all state-supported schools. Seniors may sign up for classes starting on the last day of registration, and if a course is full, they can choose a different class that has availability.
However, the waiver may not cover some fees. Contact the school’s financial aid office for more information.
Residents 60 years of age or older who enroll in state supported-classes at California State University can receive a waiver. It applies to tuition, health services and instruction-related activity fees.
In addition, student body center, association and health facilities fees are reduced to $1. Courses offered through extended education are not covered. Contact the campus admissions office for information.
In Colorado, seniors can audit classes for free at several colleges:
- At CU-Boulder, adults 55 and older can audit courses.
- At CU-Denver, seniors age 60 and older can attend on a non-credit, non-tuition basis.
- At CSU Pueblo, adults 55 years old or older may audit courses on a space-available, non-degree basis without paying tuition.
Other fees may apply.
In Connecticut, residents age 62 or older who enroll in a degree program are exempt from state tuition fees. In addition, those not enrolled in a degree program may receive a waiver in some situations.
Delaware residents age 60 or older can take free college courses at the University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Delaware Technical and Community College. Admission may depend on space. Other fees and textbooks may not be covered.
Florida residents age 60 and older can audit classes at any state university on a space-available basis. Schools with free college courses include the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of West Florida. Contact the school registrar’s office for details.
Georgia residents who are 62 years old and older can take free college courses at any state-supported college or university. Some fees may apply. The free tuition does not apply to dental, medical, veterinary or law schools.
Residents of Hawaii who are at least 60 years old can attend college classes free of tuition and for no credit. The program is administered at the University of Hawaii’s Kapi’olani Community College through the Office of the Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs, Kekaulike Center’s Noncredit Registration.
At the University of Idaho, residents age 60 and older can enroll in courses on a space-available basis for $20 plus $5 per credit. In addition, at Boise State University, residents 65 and older can audit classes on a space-available basis for no credit at no cost except for special course fees, if any.
Illinois residents who are 65 years old and older can enroll in free college courses at any state university, provided that their household income falls below the annual threshold. Colleges include the University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University and Chicago State University, among others.
Retired residents age 60 and up are eligible for a discount of at least 50% off in-state tuition at public colleges on a space-available basis. In addition, some schools allow seniors to audit classes for no fee.
University of Iowa Senior College offers educational opportunities for seniors at about $30 per course.
Residents 65 years and older can take one free, noncredit class per semester at Simpson College, too.
Kansas residents age 60 or older can request a waiver of tuition and campus fees at the University of Kansas. Courses won’t apply toward a degree and cannot be transferred to another university.
Residents 65 years old or older can take a select number of free college courses at any state-supported institution in Kentucky, including the University of Louisville. Classes may count toward a degree. Contact your local campus for more information.
Students age 55 and older can receive free tuition at all public colleges and universities in Louisiana. In addition, they receive 50% off textbooks and other classroom materials.
The University of Maine offers a tuition waiver for residents age 65 or older who wish to take undergraduate university courses. Contact the Division of Lifelong Learning Advising Center to enroll or receive advising services.
Maryland residents who are 60 years old or older can receive a waiver of fees for up to three courses per semester at the University of Maryland System colleges. The free tuition applies to regular academic classes and seniors may have to pay other fees or costs, such as application fees and textbook purchases.
Senior citizens (age 60 and up) may also apply for a Golden Identification Card from any school within the University System, and the Golden ID card will be honored throughout the System, providing certain privileges such as entry to the campus libraries and student events.
Residents age 60 and older can apply for a Categorical Tuition Waiver at any state-supported school in Massachusetts. You must enroll in at least three undergraduate credits per semester in an undergraduate degree or certificate program to be eligible.
At Western Michigan University, residents who are 62 years old and older can register for one free class per semester.
Seniors age 62 or older receive full-tuition scholarships at Northern Michigan University. The scholarship does not cover books, fees or off-campus or web-based courses.
Minnesota waives tuition for senior citizens 62 and older for credit, noncredit and audited courses as long as space is available. Additional fees may be required.
Mississippi State University offers a Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver Program for state residents age 60 or older. Seniors can enroll in up to six free credit hours per semester.
Residents age 65 and older (or retirees who are 62-64 years old) can also attend most classes at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College tuition-free on a space-available basis, and they must register on the first day of classes. Other fees will apply.
Missouri residents who are at least 65 years old can take free college courses at public state schools — including community colleges and State Tech — thanks to a scholarship provided by the state.
The Golden College Program is a waiver program for residents age 65 or older enrolling in undergraduate courses in the Montana University System. The waiver, provided by the state’s board of regents, covers tuition but not other fees.
Residents who are 65 years old and older can audit one course per semester at Chadron State College tuition-free and credit-free. However, fees are not waived.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, offers tuition-free courses for residents age 62 and older during the fall and spring semesters. Seniors can attend summer courses at 50% of the regular tuition costs. Books, course-related material and other costs are not waived.
Residents age 65 or older who are not enrolled in a degree program can take two credit-bearing courses per academic year at the University of New Hampshire tuition-free. Other fees apply.
At Rutgers University, residents age 62 and up can audit non-credit classes at no tuition cost.
At New Jersey City University, residents 65 and older may attend free, non-credit courses on a space-available basis.
Residents who are 65 years old or older can attend any New Mexico post-secondary degree-granting educational institution for $5 per credit hour, with a maximum of 10 credit hours per semester. Contact the institution of your choice to request reduced tuition.
New York state residents age 60 and older may audit classes at State University of New York and City University of New York schools tuition-free. Seniors can take up to nine credit hours of courses.
Residents of North Carolina who are 65 years old or older can audit classes at any University of North Carolina campus or community college for free. Registration fees are waived as well, though other fees may be required.
At North Dakota State University and Bismarck State College, residents age 65 or older may audit one free course each semester. At Minot State University, seniors may audit classes for a one-time $35 application fee. Other course-related fees may also be required.
Residents age 60 and up may audit classes at any state college or university with no tuition or enrollment fees. Enrollment is on a non-credit, space-available basis and must be approved by course instructors.
State-supported colleges and universities are authorized to waive tuition and fees for residents age 65 or older. Seniors can audit classes on a space-available basis.
Oregon residents who are 65 and older may audit some classes at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University and all state community colleges at no charge.
There are many free college courses for seniors in Pennsylvania. At Penn State, Bloomsburg University and East Stroudsburg University, residents age 60 and up may receive tuition waivers to audit classes. At Clarion University, students must be at least 62.
Permanent state residents who are at least 60 years old may request a tuition waiver at all of Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities. Waivers are based on course availability and the applicant’s income.
KINGSTON, RI/USA – SEPTEMBER 26, 2019: Entrance to the campus of the University of Rhode Island.
South Carolinians who are 60 years old or older may attend classes at any state-supported college or university without having to pay tuition. Seniors may take courses for credit or non-credit purposes on a space-available basis.
While there appear to be no free college courses for seniors, you can receive a reduced tuition rate in South Dakota. Residents age 65 and older can attend face-to-face classes on a primary, state-supported university campus for 45% of the regular tuition cost.
Tennessee residents age 60 or older can audit classes at any state college or university for no credit without having to pay tuition or fees. After age 65, you can take courses for credit, though you may pay a fee of $70 per semester.
Residents age 65 or older in Texas can take up to six credit hours per semester at no charge at local colleges and universities whose governing boards offer this program. In addition, residents who are 55 years old and up can have their tuition reduced or waived entirely, depending on the school.
Residents age 62 and up can take free classes at any public college or university in Utah. However, schools may charge quarterly registration fees.
Residents of Vermont who are 65 years old or older may audit one undergraduate course per enrollment period without tuition charge at any Vermont State Colleges System school. Beyond that, you can take additional undergraduate courses for a 50% discount on each class’s tuition rate.
Virginia is for lovers … of learning! Residents age 60 and up can audit up to three classes each term at any state college or university for free, though course material fees may apply.
Residents of Washington state who are 60 years old or older can have part or all of their tuition waived at state universities. Each school has its own policies about the waiver, so check with the registrar for details.
West Virginia does not have free college for seniors, but residents of the state who are 65 years old or older can take classes for significantly reduced tuition. For non-credit courses, tuition and fees for each course (excluding lab and parking fees) must not exceed $50. For credit courses, rates may not exceed 50% of regular tuition.
Wisconsin residents age 60 or older may audit classes for free at colleges in the University of Wisconsin System. Enrollment is dependent upon availability and approval by the instructor.
Residents age 65 and over may enroll in free college courses at the University of Wyoming on a space-available basis. In addition, residents of Park County who are at least 60 years old can have tuition waived for up to six credit hours per semester at Northwest College.
District Of Columbia
Last but not least, residents of Washington D.C. who are 65 years old and older can take two free classes each semester at the University of the District of Columbia. In addition, those working to obtain a degree can do so for half the cost of regular tuition.
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