Save money going back to school

Yesterday I received a copy of my alma mater’s noncredit brochure. Inside the booklet was pages and pages of classes anyone could take regardless of your school status. I am receiving the catalog because I recently graduated and I am guessing the school is missing my tuition money.

Think back

As I was perusing the catalog, I dreamed about the time that I was a student. The carefree, worry-less days (OK, I cared a lot about grades and worried excessively about grades, but it was a simpler time) were calling to me. I was one of the few graduates who left my university with mixed feelings. I was ecstatic to have completed this huge undertaking of getting two undergraduate degrees, but I would sorely miss the classroom. There is something so invigorating about being in a classroom, learning about something you are passionate about. Not to mention, the pressure that if you want to get a good grade you worry about yourself. (‘This is not true in the working world. My work determines a lot of people’s success, which can bear heavy responsibility.)

Learning just because

While I took my stroll down memory lane, I remembered a few of my classmates that have inspired me to keep learning throughout my entire life. One particular classmate was 86 years old. A part of the House Bill 66, this man took classes under a noncredit status. House Bill 66, a state bill, allowed him to take classes but for only $20 a semester. He would not be able to use those classes and credits to obtain a degree, but he did not have to take the tests either because he was learning just because.

Going back to college is becoming increasingly popular, and not just among seniors. And it is not just for the cheap student health insurance. Many mid-lifers are going back to school when the economy tanked to learn new skills to make themselves more marketable. But a lot of retirees are looking for ways to keep their minds active and trade in the boring days of fishing and crosswords.

A few tips

So how should retirees and seniors get started on renewing their love for school learning? Here are a few tips.

  • Get discounted tuition. Like I mentioned before, my state offers significant discounts for seniors returning to school. If the state does not offer it, there are other programs for seniors (usually those who are 65 or older). Public colleges might even offer them for free.
  • Scholarships are another way to get tuition paid for. Being an older student means you are considered a nontraditional student. And many scholarship dollars are set aside just for that.
  • Set the right mind set. If you want to do well in class, you need to attend all sessions. Think this does not apply to you because you are not taking any of the tests? Then you can guarantee that you will not get as much out of the class as you could.
  • Have fun. Take classes that are interesting to you and enjoy it! Many people (like me) are counting down the years until the chance to take classes again.