Back to school without worrying about tuition

If you are 60, retired or working part-time and have time on your hands, here's an idea.

Take a class. Just for fun. Maybe in history, languages, social sciences or the humanities. Even chemistry or math, if you have a mind to.

S.C. law allows its senior citizens to take tuition-free classes at all public colleges and universities.

You will have to pay for books and a $25 registration fee, but have you checked tuition costs lately?

It's a great chance for continued learning, meeting new people and stomping boredom.

If you are interested, locally, check out the websites of the College of Charleston, Trident Tech and The Citadel.

Never stop learning

The program allows you to audit, or take courses for no credit, or for credit on a space available basis.

At the C of C, Dorinda Q. Harmon, director for Admissions for Special Enrollments, said you can actually earn a degree under the program if you like.

However, most people are interested in taking a class or two.

About 200-250 people take classes each semester at the college, so you will be in good company.

The program has been a great resource for the community, Harmon said. Senior students are mature and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the campus.

Many were busy working and raising a family; now they have time for themselves and want to continue learning or pursue new interests.

According to the college's website, you can work toward a degree, audit classes or take courses for personal enrichment.

The oldest student is 90, Harmon said. There are husbands and wives taking classes together; others take them separately.

People from all professions and income levels are there. They all want to continue to learn no matter what age.

Some popular courses include travel, learning a new language, politics, history, literature and world affairs.

To learn more

You can find information on the program on any public college website.

For the College of Charleston, go to www.cofc.edu or call 953 5620.

You must apply for Senior Citizen Tuition Status, not be employed full-time and be a state resident for at least 12 months.

Computer science, studio art, music performance or creative writing courses cannot be audited but Harmon feels sure the college can find a course that interests you.

So if you are bored sitting around the house with little to do, this could lead to more interesting days.

Reach Assistant Features Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555, or sgreene@postandcourier.com.

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