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Free College Courses for Seniors

Free-College-Courses-For-Seniors-In-Copy-ImageNo matter where you are in life, continuing your education can offer a variety of benefits, including keeping your skills sharp and your insights relevant.

If you are a senior interested in continuing your education or returning to college, you should know that it is increasingly more common to see other seniors on campuses. One of the major reasons for this might be the growth in higher education facilities offering free college courses for seniors.

Want to know more? This article discusses several options that active seniors can pursue if they are interested in earning free tuition.

Where to Start

First, determine what it is that you’d like to study – a foreign language, ancient history, modern art or even something especially challenging such as molecular biology or forensic accounting. Once you pinpoint exactly the topics you want to explore, visit college websites or contact the enrollment office to inquire if the school offers free classes for seniors.

Local Community College Classes for Seniors

If you’re interested in taking foundational or basic courses, such as an overview of bookkeeping or hobby-related courses, a community college may be the best bet for three main reasons:

  • The campuses tend to be smaller and easier to navigate than most colleges and universities;
  • They usually have smaller class sizes making it easier to interact with professors and other students;
  • If your goal is completing a full academic program, you will likely see the same classmates throughout.

Traditional and Online Colleges

Most established colleges and universities offer more comprehensive classes, which can make finding free colleges classes a little easier. Plus, many larger colleges (such as Georgetown University) allow seniors to audit bachelors-level courses for no cost – or at least at a significant discount from standard tuition.

If you’re not interested in the social side of college, or there isn’t a campus near your home, there is still no reason to cross college classes off your bucket list. Many colleges (such as the ) provide free online credit- and non-credit courses for individuals 65 or older. Some of these require you to demonstrate a financial hardship to qualify for discounted or free tuition; however, once accepted, many adults find online classes are a great way to complete coursework requirements around their schedules.

How to Find the Right Free College Courses for Seniors

Many schools do not actively promote their free college classes for seniors, so you may need to do a little digging. Often, these schools offer only a limited number of tuition-free courses each semester—meaning early registration can give you an edge. You can start your research here.

If free classes are filled, you can still attend by applying for financial aid to cover the expense. Although you may not wish to take on additional debt in your post-retirement years, there are scholarships and grants earmarked specifically for seniors offered by federal, state and local agencies. Contact the school’s financial aid office to inquire about available education grants.

Prospective senior students can also enroll in adult education certification programs offered by many community colleges. Although these classes are not free, they typically cost far less than traditional college classes.

Money does not have to be a barrier to seniors looking to continue their education and keep their minds sharp.

In the meantime, if you are interested in strengthening your computer skills to prepare you for your return to college, check out Computer Help for Seniors to learn more.