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Senior Citizens Can Go to College for Free or Cheap in All 10 States

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We’re living longer than ever before, and doing so in better health. So what can you do when you retire and want to keep your mind sharp or need to gain additional skills to stay competitive at work?

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For many, the answer is to go back to school. But tuition can be prohibitively expensive.

At the same time, schools want their classrooms to be full of engaged students, regardless of age. In the interest of continuing education, many colleges and universities offer reduced or free college for seniors (typically, adults 60 and up, although the rules vary).

In fact, we found at least one option in every state.

Free (or Cheap) College for Seniors in Every State
While some institutions only allow senior students to audit classes, many offer the chance to earn credits toward a degree at a reduced — or completely waived — tuition rate.

Does your state have a senior citizen education program you can use? Find out below!

1. Alabama

Alabama seniors can attend any two-year institution within the state tuition-free.

Adults 60 and older should contact the financial aid office at any community college for admission and eligibility details.

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Some Alabama schools, like Coastal Alabama Community College, offer online courses if you want to avoid in-person classes.

2. Alaska

The University of Alaska waives tuition for senior-citizen residents who receive full social security benefits. Seniors must wait until the first day of classes to enroll to ensure that there’s space remaining; they must also complete a tuition-waiver form.

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Additional costs such as student activity, health center and lab fees are not covered; the student must pay them directly.

Online courses may be included if offered; check with the admission’s office for confirmation.

3. Arizona

All 10 campuses of Maricopa Community College allow senior citizens to take classes for credit at 50% of the full tuition cost.

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Students 65 and older must register between the first and second class sessions of the semester to ensure space is available. You can register for in-person, online or hybrid classes.

4. Arkansas

Arkansas waives tuition for anyone 60 and over who wants to work toward an undergraduate or graduate degree at state institutions.

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Student fees may apply and senior citizens may only register for classes with space available. If you need online courses, check with your chosen college to see what options you have,

5. California

California State University waives all tuition and dramatically reduces campus fees for residents age 60 or older.

Currently, some Cal State locations are only offering online courses, while others are in person.

6. Colorado

Students age 55 and older may attend class on a space-available basis at Colorado State University. There is no tuition fee, but visitors don’t get credit for attending class. It is up to the instructor how participation and grading of assignments and tests are handled. CSU currently offers face to face, hybrid and online classes.

At the University of Colorado Denver, persons aged 60 and above may enroll on a no-credit basis to attend up to two classes per semester as auditors when space is available. (Courses with a lab component are excluded, as are computer courses and online courses.)

7. Connecticut

Residents 62 and up may attend state colleges, including community colleges, for free on a space-available basis.

At Central Connecticut State University, for example, tuition is waived for any resident over the age of 62 who applies for full- or part-time admission for a degree-granting program. Online courses are included.

Senior students may also take non-credit courses on a space-available basis and have tuition waived. All students must still pay all other fees.

8. Delaware

The University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and Delaware Technical and Community College all permit state residents age 60 or older to audit or take classes for credit for free.

At the University of Delaware, students wishing to use the program must apply for admission on a space-available basis. Some graduate degrees may be eligible, as well. Residents can register for online or in-person courses.

Participants must pay all related student fees and buy their own textbooks.

9. District of Columbia

Senior citizens 65 and up may audit undergraduate courses from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. These students pay a fee of $50 per course.

In order to audit a course, there must be available space and the instructor of record must approve the enrollment.

Note: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this program has been suspended through the Spring 2022 semester.

A man reads a magazine with his dog in front of him outside at a table. Getty Images

10. Florida

The Florida college system waives application, tuition and student fees for those age 60 and above, but colleges will award no credit and will grant admission on a space-available basis. Check to see whether your chosen college covers online courses as well as in person.

Fun fact: Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society has the largest adult continuing education program in the U.S. It even has its own auditorium on campus to help serve FAU’s 30,000 new registrants each year.

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