It’s not uncommon these days to see Baby Boomers return to college for continuing education either for personal pleasure or career retraining. But which program is most worth the investment of your time and money?
We compared a handful of programs to help you figure out which is most beneficial for your needs. Here’s what we found:
Many universities and colleges offer credit and noncredit programs for retirees and seniors. One of the most popular sources of programming and funding is through The Bernard Foundation. There are 116 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs on colleges and universities throughout the country with at least one grantee in each of the 50 states and in the District of Columbia that is supported through the Bernard Foundation.
While the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes vary greatly in each state, there are common threads: non-credit educational programs specifically developed for seasoned adults who are age 50 and over. The programs also offer university support, volunteer leadership, and a diverse repertoire of courses. The annual fees vary, but they are typically affordable for the 55-and-over community.
Here are some other examples of lifelong learning opportunities around the country:
In the Buckeye state, residents over the age of 60 can take advantage of four-year universities and two-year technical colleges for free. Participation is limited to classes with space available and must be approved by the instructor. In most cases, no college credit is earned and some costs (such as books, equipment and lab fees) may apply.
There are currently 36 colleges and universities that offer free courses for Ohioans. Check out the Department of Aging’s website to learn more about which institute may be best for you.
In Chicago, the Institute for Continued Learning at Roosevelt University offers a membership-based educational program for adults 55 and older. The Institute bills the program as something that would benefit people who have reached a point in their life where they want to pursue their interests in a continuing learning and social environment with a group of like-minded peers.
There is a $110 fee for a one-year program at the time of joining the Institute. Other fees may apply to certain study groups, which range in size from 10 to 15 members.
The University of Utah offers two options for boomers. The school has a Lifelong Learning Continuing Education program open to adults age 18 and over, as well as courses offered through the Osher Institute Lifelong Learning program, which is exclusively for adults age 50 and over.
Both programs are noncredit and open to the community. Membership for the Osher Institute at the University of Utah is only $30 per year. Once enrolled in that program, members are eligible for a 25 percent discount to any of the Lifelong Learning Continuing Education programs.
There are a wide range of classes offered through the Osher Institute at the University of Utah including chocolate candy making, drawing portraits, current economic issues and restorative exercise.
Boston University’s Metropolitan College Evergreen Program is for students age 58 and over. The program invites those age 58 and over to audit undergraduate and graduate programs on a noncredit basis. It’s $160 per course and Evergreen students can audit classes at the discretion of the course instructor or department chair in virtually any of the schools and colleges through Boston University.
It’s also possible for boomers to study abroad! The Elderhostel Institute Network was established in 1975 as voluntary association of Lifelong Learning Institutes that allows older, active adults to participate in international programs.
The Elderhostel Road Scholar programs includes a wide range of topics, formats and locations in all 50 states, 150 countries, aboard ships, and on sailing vessels on waterways throughout the world.
One of the most popular programs is a 13 day, 12 night excursion to Peru to explore the country’s ancient civilizations. Participants walk one to two miles each day and travel through a handful of different cities and attend lectures, among other things.
Now that you’ve seen there are endless educational possibilities at your fingertips, which program suits you best?