Retirees headed back to school
The Savvy SeniorAugust 9, 2011 | 1,831 views | Post a comment
Dear Savvy Senior,
Are there any financial resources available to retirees who are interested in going back to college? Since I retired, I’ve been thinking about going back to school to study some topics of interest to me, but living on a fixed income I could use some financial help.
There are actually numerous discounts, tuition waivers, tax credits and other deals that can help retirees go back to school a little cheaper. Here’s what you should know.
Back to School
From continuing education and enrichment classes to graduate school, more and more retirees are heading back to the classroom looking to pursue their interest, connect with other people or retool for a new career. But with the high cost of college these days, paying tuition, fees and books can be a big strain for many older adults living on a fixed income. Here are some tips that can help you save.
Your first step is to contact your nearby college to find out what, if any, deals they offer retirees. Many community colleges and some four-year colleges for example, allow senior citizens to audit classes for free and many offer significantly discounted tuition rates for those who take them for credit. In fact, according to Fastweb, a college financial aid resource, 21 states and Washington, D.C., offer free tuition for senior citizens at some or all of their public colleges. (Textbook costs and sometimes fees are however not covered.)
Credits and Deductions
Uncle Sam can offer some assistance too in the form of tax credits and deductions. For credits, check out the Lifetime Learning tax credit that allows students of any age to claim up to a $2,000 credit each year for college or other post-secondary school expenses. And the American Opportunity credit, which allows an annual tax credit up to $2,500. The government also provides tuition and fees deductions for students that can cover up to $4,000 in expenses. But, you can choose only one of these three tax breaks -- Lifetime Learning credit, American Opportunity credit, or the tuition and fees deduction. To learn more about these benefits, visit the IRS’s Tax Benefits for Education Information Center, which you can access at TaxBenefitsForEducation.info.
While most scholarships are aimed at traditional undergraduates, there are a number of scholarships offered specifically to adult and non-traditional students. Two good websites to help you find them are fastweb.com and scholarships.com, both of which offer huge scholarship databases and easy-to-use search tools.
Beyond college classes, another popular and inexpensive option for retirees is Lifelong Learning Institutes (LLIs). These are noncredit educational programs that involve no tests or grades, just learning for the pure joy of it.
Usually affiliated with colleges and universities, LLIs offer a wide array of academic courses in such areas as literature, history, religion, philosophy, science, art and architecture, economics, finance, computers, lifestyle issues and more.
To find an LLI, call your closest college or search the websites of the two organizations that support and facilitate them -- Osher (osher.net) and Elderhostel (www.roadscholar.org/ein/intro.asp). Together they support more than 500 LLI programs nationwide.
If you don’t find an LLI in your area, depending on where you live, there are other organizations that offer non-credit older adult education courses like Oasis (oasisnet.org, 314-862-2933), Shepherd’s Centers of America (shepherdcenters.org, 816-960-2022), and SeniorNet (seniornet.org, 571-203-7100), which offers computer courses at learning centers around the country. Also, be sure to contact your local public library to see if it offers any programs for seniors.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit http://SavvySenior.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
A creepy Halloween party appetizer (October 19, 2016)
Applying for Social Security (October 19, 2016)
Chili Cook-off to benefit Wilson County youth (October 19, 2016)
DRT joins Heritage Music Festival (October 19, 2016)
DRT to meet Oct. 24 in Kerrville (October 19, 2016)
Enjoy Harvest Festival in Marion (October 19, 2016)
Enter Pecan Bake Show (October 19, 2016)
Little Golden Books (October 19, 2016)
Make plans for Halloween fun and fall fests (October 19, 2016)
Meeting the needs of the community: St. Vincent de Paul (October 19, 2016)
R&B legend opens Carver season Oct. 29 (October 19, 2016)
Readers share their spooky tales, part two (October 19, 2016)
Road Runners plan Oct. 22 group run (October 19, 2016)
See country legends Oct. 22 (October 19, 2016)
Try your hand at square dancing (October 19, 2016)
Turn yard waste into gardener’s gold (October 19, 2016)
Baptist church to ring in 100 years (October 12, 2016)
Church plans Junk and Treasure Sale (October 12, 2016)
Comal Country Music Show is Oct. 18 (October 12, 2016)
Davy Crockett (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy fried chicken in Poth Oct. 23 (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy this flashy winter resident (October 12, 2016)
Join in the 2016 Rosary Crusade (October 12, 2016)
National Charity League plans celebration (October 12, 2016)
New program increases student knowledge of E-cigarette dangers (October 12, 2016)
Play bunco in La Vernia Oct. 22 (October 12, 2016)
Pondering a poignant letter from the past (October 12, 2016)
Save the date for Oct. 22 March for Life (October 12, 2016)
Should you redeem old savings bonds? (October 12, 2016)
Show Barn Cook-off approaching (October 12, 2016)
Sutherland Springs Old Town Day (October 12, 2016)
The business of aging grows more complex (October 12, 2016)
Try your luck at China Grove Lions Club Casino Night (October 12, 2016)
Atascosa County Craft Show seeks vendors (October 5, 2016)
Beautify your landscape with cacti (October 5, 2016)
Experience Oktoberfest in San Antonio (October 5, 2016)
Gilded peanuts and golden memories — recalling past Floresville Peanut Festivals (October 5, 2016)
Japan Fest set for Oct. 16 (October 5, 2016)
Meal service delivery options for seniors who don’t cook (October 5, 2016)
Oktoberfest comes to Floresville Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Past Pirate champions will never be forgotten (October 5, 2016)
Readers share their ‘spooky’ tales (October 5, 2016)
Sacred Springs PowWow (October 5, 2016)
Shorter teapot (October 5, 2016)
Sinatra tribute comes to Kerrville (October 5, 2016)
Stockdale librarian updates Blue Bonnet Club members (October 5, 2016)
Sunnyside 4-H Bake Sale (October 5, 2016)
Time for turkey in Cestohowa (October 5, 2016)