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Free College Tuition for Seniors by State 2024

Free College Tuition for Seniors by State 2024

Most states have a program for senior citizens to take college classes for free. The only states that do not have this program are Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota. However, even in these states, seniors can take classes for a greatly reduced cost at many universities.

Some states, Colorado, Louisiana, and Tennessee, allow people to take advantage of this free tuition at the age of 55. The rest of the states begin free tuition for those between 60 and 65 years old. Some states do charge registration or program fees, but these programs allow senior citizens to take college classes for close to nothing.

States With Good Free-Tuition Programs

California

The Californian state university system is one of the most popular programs for senior citizens. Although it is typically viewed as a time to relax and take things slow, seniors shouldn't need to fight the stigma of being bored or feeling unneeded in their older age. With years of experience behind them in specific fields, seniors may feel it is time to pursue other passions now that they may have more time to dedicate to their projects.

Many schools throughout the system offer free tuition to encourage them to bring their valuable skills back to the workforce, whether directly or indirectly. Seniors often don't have to worry about grades either, as the schools allow citizens to audit classes without the need for examination or to complete ongoing homework. Regardless, it is still essential for many to practice self-study, as this enhances the effectiveness of the material that you have learned in class.

Each campus under Education Code 89330 must grant waivers to tuition for California residents that are aged 60 or older. Examples of waived fees include applications, tuition, health services, and any other activity related to instructing the student.

South Carolina

The most well-known program for free tuition offered to senior citizens in the state of South Carolina is Clemson University. The South Carolina Code of Laws, specifically Article 5, states that universities that want to offer free tuition to senior citizens can do so with the backing of the state. However, the enrollment process is extremely specific and takes into consideration many documents that need to be submitted to prove that the program is performing well and as intended.

This is more of a continuance than a binary decision, as colleges must provide ongoing support to seniors and always fulfill their reporting requirements. Clemson is popular for providing in-demand free college classes for seniors and learners can choose to either audit a class or earn college credit - depending on what they need the education for. Program approval is granted only on an individual basis, and, of course, it is only offered to South Carolina residents.

Colorado

The Colorado State University located in Fort Collins, CO allows resident instruction classes on any course that has space available. The senior citizen class visitation policy is offered to those who are aged 55 and over, which is outside the norm, as many states define senior citizens as 60 or even 65 years of age and older. The state of Colorado also defines the term "lifelong learners" as those that wish to stay within the academic stream throughout their lifetime.

Some courses that lifelong learners can enroll in without worrying about tuition are foreign languages, women's studies, and even theater&arts. Although the range of offerings may be more limited than that of other states, it allows a much lower age restriction for those who wish to explore hobbies and other past-times when they age.

Free College Tuition for Seniors by State 2024

  • For the purposes of the table below, the term "seniors" refers to senior citizens as opposed to students of traditional high school and/or college age who are in their fourth, or senior, year of high school or university.
  • While not all states have enacted statewide laws mandating free education for seniors, many universities and colleges within those states independently offer tuition waivers or discounts for older learners.

Download Table Data

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State
Free Tuition Statewide
Min Age
Participating Colleges and Details
Alaska65
- The University of Alaska | - Provides a tuition waiver for senior citizens, on a space-available b...
Arizona65
- The 10 campuses of Maricopa (County) Community Colleges offer a 50% discount on resident tuition r...
Illinois65
- University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University, Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois U...
Indiana65
- For-credit courses in degree programs at the state’s public universities are offered at 50% of the...
Iowa65
- Simpson College - non-credit classes tuition-free | - Des Moines Area Community College offers stu...
Kentucky65
- Classes on a space-available basis at the state’s public colleges and universities - Fees are the ...
Maine65
- The University of Maine college system offers free college tuition for senior, including fees | - ...
Missouri65
- Seniors are guaranteed under state law a tuition waiver to any state college or university | - Sch...
Montana65
- The Montana State University System, including the University of Montana and Montana State Univers...
Nebraska65
- There’s no statewide program in Nebraska to waive tuition for older students, but you may find fre...
New Hampshire65
- Seniors can take two for-credit courses per academic year tuition-free at the University of New Ha...
New Jersey65
- Each public institution of higher education in N.J. may, if they so choose, permit persons of the ...
New Mexico65
- Senior Citizens Reduced Tuition Act of 1984. Each of the state’s public, post-secondary degree-gra...
North Carolina65
- Seniors can, on a space-available basis, audit classes tuition-free at the campuses of the Univers...
North Dakota65
- Varies by school | - Under North Dakota State University's Project 65 policy, people 65+ can audit...
Oklahoma65
- Seniors can audit classes at the state’s public colleges and universities tuition-free. Fees are a...
Oregon65
- The University of Oregon and Oregon State University allow seinors to audit classes at the state’s...
South Dakota65
- State residents 65 and older get a 45% discount on tuition at participating state colleges, includ...
Texas65
- Texas residents 65 and older can take as many as six credit hours per semester at Texas state-fund...
Vermont65
- Vermont residents 65 and older can audit tuition-free one course per semester at a college in the ...
West Virginia65
- West Virginia law mandates the state’s public colleges and universities offer citizens age 65 and ...
Wyoming65
- Wyoming residents 65+ can attend classes at the University of Wyoming on a space-available basis a...
Connecticut62
- University of Connecticut, Connecticut State University and the state’s 12 regional community-tech...
Georgia62
- There are 26 public colleges and universities in Georgia’s state university system, and all offer ...
Minnesota62
- University of Minnesota and throughout the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system - Stud...
Nevada62
- University of Nevada Las Vegas joins with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to bring classes o...
Utah62
- According to the law residents 62 and older can enroll in regularly scheduled classes (space permi...
Alabama60
- Any of the 24 community and technical colleges in the Alabama Community College System, including ...
Arkansas60
- Fees are waived at all state-supported colleges, including community colleges
California60
- Tuition is waived for all state-supported colleges| - Many of the University of California campuse...
Delaware60
- University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Delaware Technical and Community College wa...
Florida60
- All of Florida’s state universities waive tuition and fees by law for residents older than 60 | - ...
Hawaii60
- All residents of Hawaii age 60 and older can attend courses for free at the University of Hawaii a...
Idaho60
- The University of Idaho permits Idaho residents age 60 and older to enroll in UoI courses on a spa...
Kansas60
- A variety of colleges and universities allow seniors to audit certain classes for free | - No coll...
Maryland60
- Residents 60 years of age and retired get their tuition waived at any of the schools for up to thr...
Massachusetts60
- Public universities and colleges within Massachusetts’ higher education system waive tuition for s...
Michigan60
- Northern Michigan University, for example, offers “full tuition scholarships” to residents 62 and ...
Mississippi60
- There isn't a statewide law a program for free (or nearly so) college tuition | - University of Mi...
New York60
- Tuition is waived for Empire State residents 60 and older who audit for-credit classes at any of t...
Ohio60
- All of Ohio’s public universities and colleges, including community colleges, allow residents age ...
Pennsylvania60
- Seniors can take free courses at state institutions | - Pennsylvania State University offers a Go-...
Rhode Island60
- The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and Community College of Rhode Island all of...
South Carolina60
- According to the law all South Carolina residents 60 and older may attend any state-funded college...
Virginia60
- Under Virginia law, "senior citizens" age 60 and over can audit at no cost up to three non-credit ...
Washington60
- Washington state law mandates its state and regional universities, state and community colleges, a...
Wisconsin60
- The University of Wisconsin system of colleges and universities allows residents 60 and older to a...
Colorado55
- At Colorado State University,“lifelong learners” can attend classes for free on a space-available ...
Louisiana55
- Public colleges and universities waive tuition and registration fees. Books, manuals, and other ai...
Tennessee55
- All state-supported universities and colleges (including community colleges) allow residents 65 an...
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