For many seniors, going back to school offers the chance to pursue new interests, grow social networks, and even start a new career path. With only 33 percent of adults over age 65 holding a bachelor’s degree, going back to school may help you stand out in a crowd, too. Attending college is something adults of any age can do – you just need to know how to get started! 

That’s why we created a guide to free college for seniors in every state. Many states offer waived tuition or discounted rates for older adults wishing to attend classes. While some provide seniors the chance to audit classes, others offer full degree programs. There are also plenty of online college opportunities as well. 

Free College for Seniors by State

Every state offers free or discounted programs for seniors wishing to attend college classes. Many provide for-credit classes, giving seniors the chance to earn a degree. Navigate to your state below to view free college opportunities for older adults. 

A | C | D | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W

1. Alabama

For adults over age 60, Alabama offers free tuition to any two-year college. Full- and part-time students are eligible to apply. To register, contact the financial aid office of the location you’re interested in attending. 

2. Alaska

Seniors who are eligible for full Social Security benefits qualify for waived tuition at University of Alaska schools. The waiver covers tuition only – services like the health center, lab and technology fees, and other student activities are not covered and must be paid for by the student. 

3. Arizona 

While there is no state-wide waiver for senior tuition, Maricopa Community College offers half-price tuition for seniors. Contact one of their 10 campus locations to request information. 

4. Arkansas 

Seniors can attend any state institution with waived tuition fees. Registration will only be allowed for classes with available space. 

5. California 

California seniors can attend California State University with waived tuition fees and reduced student fees. Contact the university for application details. 

6. Colorado 

Seniors in Colorado may participate in programs at two major Colorado universities. Colorado State University offers a “Senior Citizen Class Visitation Privilege” program and the University of Colorado Denver provides a Lifelong Learners Program

7. Connecticut 

Connecticut’s state and community colleges are free for seniors. Admission may be full- or part-time and students may choose from degree-granting and non-credit courses. 

8. Delaware 

Several universities in Delaware offer free credit and non-credit courses to seniors. While tuition is free, students will be expected to pay any additional fees, including textbook costs. 

9. Florida 

All Florida schools waive application, tuition, and student fees for seniors. However, courses will be considered no-credit and admission is based on available space. 

10. Georgia 

Seniors are offered free tuition at any public Georgia college. Seniors hoping to take for-credit courses must apply through the standard admissions process.  

11. Hawaii 

The University of Hawaii and state community colleges offer a Senior Citizen Visitor Program, which allows senior residents to attend college courses for free. These courses cannot be used to achieve a degree. 

12. Idaho 

Senior-specific programs in Idaho vary based on the institution. Some colleges offer non-credit classes for free, while others allow seniors to audit classes for free. 

13. Illinois 

Seniors can attend for-credit courses at any public Illinois university or college. Students will still be expected to pay lab, textbook, and other fees out of pocket. 

14. Indiana 

Retired residents may take up to nine for-credit hours per semester at both Purdue University and Indiana University. Students will be required to pay 50 percent of tuition fees. 

  • Indiana State University
    • Phone: (812) 237-3773
    • Age requirements: 60+
    • Specifications: 9 for-credit hours per semester, students pay 50 percent tuition 
  • Purdue University
    • Phone: (765) 494-4600
    • Age requirements: 60+
    • Specifications: 9 for-credit hours per semester, students pay 50 percent tuition

15. Iowa 

Iowa seniors are offered one non-credit class per semester at Simpson College, completely free. Admission is based on space and does not include other fees, including lab and textbook costs. 

  • Simpson College
    • Phone: (515) 961-6251
    • Age requirement: 65+
    • Specifications: 1 non-credit class per semester 

16. Kansas 

Seniors can audit courses at any Kansas state institution with no tuition fees. Some universities may require senior auditors to apply for admission. 

17. Kentucky 

Seniors can take classes tuition-free from any state institution in Kentucky. Admittance will be allowed as space is available. 

18. Louisiana 

Seniors can attend any Louisiana state school with free tuition, plus half-price books and materials from campus bookstores. 

19. Maine 

Seniors may audit or attend for-credit courses from any school in the University of Maine System for free. Admission is based on space availability. 

20. Maryland 

Seniors receive waived tuition fees for degree-granting programs at any school in the University of Maryland System. 

21. Massachusetts 

In Massachusetts, any state-supported school offers free tuition for senior residents. Seniors must take at least three credit hours per semester to maintain student status. 

22. Michigan 

For seniors in Michigan, opportunities for free college differ among institutions. At Michigan Tech, seniors receive waived tuition for as many as two courses per semester. 

  • Michigan Tech
    • Phone: (906) 487-1885
    • Age requirement: 60+
    • Specifications: maximum of two courses per semester
  • Wayne State University
    • Phone: (313) 577-2424
    • Age requirement: 60+
    • Specifications: students pay 75 percent tuition

23. Minnesota

As a general rule, Minnesota institutions waive tuition for seniors. However, some schools have specific fees that must be paid. For example, the University of Minnesota offers free tuition and free auditing, but seniors pay a $10 fee per credited course.

24. Mississippi

While Mississippi has no statewide benefit for seniors, many institutions still offer senior programs. For example, Mississippi State University offers a free tuition waiver for residents older than 60 for classes taken at the Starkville or Meridian campuses, or by the Center for Distance Education. 

25. Missouri

Missouri’s statewide program allows senior residents to take non-credit classes for free at any public school. 

26. Montana

Montana senior residents can receive a tuition waiver for any Montana University System school – campus and registration fees are not waived. 

27. Nebraska 

Nebraska seniors may choose from tuition-free programs from several community colleges. Some of these programs may also extend to border state residents in Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

  • Chadron State College
    • Phone: (308) 432-6000
    • Age requirement: 65+
    • Specifications: maximum of one class per semester, audit only 

28. Nevada 

Seniors may take free classes during fall and spring semesters at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Seniors interested in summer courses must pay 50 percent of normal tuition. 

29. New Hampshire 

Seniors receive free tuition on two for-credit classes per year at the University of New Hampshire. However, this program does not allow for senior students to participate in degree-granting classes. 

30. New Jersey 

New Jersey senior residents can audit courses for free at specific Rutgers University campuses. Free classes are only offered in fall and spring semesters.  

31. New Mexico 

For just $5 per credit hour, seniors can take for-credit or auditing classes. Hours are limited to six per semester and students are responsible for other fees. 

  • New Mexico State University
    • Phone: (575) 646-0111
    • Age requirement: 65+
    • Specifications: maximum of six credit hours per semester, $5 per hour
  • University of New Mexico
    • Phone: (505) 277-0111
    • Age requirement: 65+
    • Specifications: maximum of six credit hours per semester, $5 per hour

32. New York 

New York has many opportunities for seniors to take free college courses. Small fees may apply and some courses may only be audited. 

  • Purchase College
    • Phone: (914) 251-6000
    • Age requirement: 60+ 
    • Specifications: maximum of two for-credit courses per semester, $50 audit fee
  • Queens College
    • Phone: (718) 997-5000
    • Age requirement: 60+
    • Specifications: audit only, $80 per semester

33. North Carolina 

Seniors may attend any North Carolina community college for free, but auditing is available at other universities in the state. 

34. North Dakota 

North Dakota seniors can audit one course per semester for free, though other course fees are the responsibility of the student. 

  • Bismarck State College
    • Phone: (800) 445-5073
    • Age requirement: 65+ 
    • Specifications: audit only, maximum of one course per semester

35. Ohio

Ohio seniors can attend any class at a state college for free, though classes will be considered no-credit and registration is on a space-available basis.

36. Oklahoma

Senior citizens may audit classes at any Oklahoma state college for free, as long as space is available. 

37. Oregon

Seniors in Oregon may audit classes on a space-available basis, though other course fees may be required of students. 

38. Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania seniors have plenty of opportunities for free college. Different institutions have different requirements, so be sure to contact admissions for details. 

39. Rhode Island 

Tuition for the Community College of Rhode Island may be waived for income-qualified seniors. To apply, students must submit a Senior Citizen Means Test to verify their income – a FAFSA will also be required for degree-seeking seniors. 

40. South Carolina 

Seniors can attend any state school for free on a credit or no-credit basis. Schools will grant admission through normal application procedures and other fees may be required.  

41. South Dakota 

Seniors can attend any South Dakota public university at just 55 percent of the normal tuition cost. Interested seniors can apply through the regular admissions process and the school will automatically grant the senior discount. 

42. Tennessee  

Seniors can take for-credit classes at any Tennessee state or community college. Students must pay application and course-specific fees. 

43. Texas 

The University of Texas System offers free classes for seniors at two branches: Austin and Dallas. Seniors may take up to six credit hours per semester. 

  • University of Texas at Dallas
    • Phone: (972) 883-2111
    • Age requirement: 65+
    • Specifications: students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA, maximum of six credit hours per semester 

44. Utah 

Senior residents may enroll at a state institution in Utah for free, space permitting. While tuition is waived, course-specific fees may apply.  

  • University of Utah
    • Phone: (801) 581-7200
    • Age requirement: 62+
    • Specifications: $25 per semester, audit only 

45. Vermont 

Seniors in Vermont may audit one class per semester at any Vermont State College school. For additional classes, students must pay 50 percent of the tuition rate plus administration and course fees for all classes.

  • Castleton University
    • Phone: (802) 468-5611
    • Age requirement: 65+
    • Specifications: maximum of one class per semester, students pay 50 percent tuition per additional class
  • University of Vermont
    • Phone: (802) 656-3131
    • Age requirement: 65+
    • Specifications: maximum of one class per semester, students pay 50 percent tuition per additional class
  • Vermont Technical
    • Phone: (802) 728-1000
    • Age requirement: 65+
    • Specifications: maximum of one class per semester, students pay 50 percent tuition per additional class

46. Virginia 

According to the terms of the Senior Citizens Higher Education Act of 1974, seniors in Virginia who earn a taxable income under $23,850 per year are qualified to audit up to three courses per term for free. 

  • George Mason University
    • Phone: (703) 993-1000
    • Age requirement: 60+ 
    • Specifications: audit only, maximum of three courses per semester, income-based 
  • James Madison University
    • Phone: (540) 568-6211
    • Age requirement: 60+
    • Specifications: audit only, maximum of three courses per semester, income-based
  • University of Virginia
    • Phone: (434) 924-0311
    • Age requirement: 60+
    • Specifications: audit only, maximum of three courses per semester, income-based

47. Washington 

Washington schools are required to partially or fully waive tuition fees for seniors taking for-credit courses. 

48. West Virginia 

For just $5, senior students can apply to take no-credit classes at West Virginia University. Seniors hoping to take for-credit classes will be subject to normal admissions costs and requirements. 

49. Wisconsin 

If space is available, seniors can audit any class at the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison for free. 

50. Wyoming 

After applying through the normal admissions process, seniors can attend any class at the University of Wyoming for free. 

Free Online College Courses for Seniors

There are plenty of opportunities for seniors to learn and participate in college courses without leaving home. Whether you prefer a traditional format or a multimedia approach, free online college courses are an excellent opportunity to pursue new interests or reengage in the workforce. 

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT offers over 1,800 academic courses online through OpenCourseWare. Courses include syllabuses, assignments, exams, online textbooks, and audio or video lectures. 

Featured courses include: 

  • The User-Friendly Classroom 
  • Congress and the American Political System I
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Computer Systems Security

EdX 

EdX offers thousands of online classes from institutions and universities around the world. Founded by MIT and Harvard, EdX now serves over 20 million online learners. 

Popular class subjects include: 

  • Data Science 
  • Computer Science 
  • Business and Management 
  • Foreign Language 

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University has over 200 online courses to choose from, focusing on career development. This option is perfect for seniors with busy schedules who need classes that work around their other commitments. 

Coursera

Coursera works with top universities around the world to provide accessible online courses anyone can take. From full degree programs to certifications and free classes, Coursera’s offerings can help seniors learn new skills or start a new career. 

For even more online learning opportunities, be sure to check out our list of free online writing courses

Sources: 

MIT OpenCourseWare | AARP | EdSmart | Bernard Osher Foundation | US Department of Education

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