Online College Enriches Lives Of Senior Citizens!

Online College Enriches Lives Of Senior Citizens!

Article by Natasha Bright

Usually every spring there’s some human interest story about a great-grandparent who is graduating with a college degree, often their first. While many will ooh and awe then quickly forget it, one should give their respect to those seniors. The truth is they are getting some very practical benefits from going back to school.

You see, these retirees are not just enriching their intellectual lives, they are also adding as much as a decade of quality life to them.  Columbia University did a study of people over the age of 75 who maintained a schedule of light exercise, active reading and healthy diet; and their lives and longevity outstripped seniors who didn’t do this by ten years.

While it’s often the case that many of these “old dogs” aren’t planning to start new careers after they graduate, they are using this new free time from the work force to enrich themselves in other ways.

For instance, one such graduate always appreciated and read her share of literature. Thanks to her new Bachelor’s of Arts in Literature, she now has a deeper understanding of the conditions her favorite authors wrote under, what they were trying to do and thus winding up with a greater appreciation of why the work is considered great. Another is a retired engineer who got a degree in history so he could better appreciate the evolution of his profession.

As for wondering how these seniors can afford continuing education on a retiree’s income, it turns out there are a number of organizations that are willing to help out. Companies such as Calgon have set up special financial aid packages for them. A number of colleges provide steep discounts for seniors to audit their classes, as well as be full-time students. There are also charitable foundations like the Janet Rankin Foundation that have programs designed for elderly students. Even many of U.S. states are willing to offer tuition waivers, provided the senior takes their classes at one of their state colleges.

As for the online option? One main reason many senior citizens are taking this route is while their minds might still be exceptionally sharp, the wear and tear of over 60 years of living has taken its toll on them physically. As it stands, with traditional desktops and laptops now dropping below 0, they can afford DSL or Wi-Fi hookups and not have to endure commuting. Further, as with all online courses, they can take their classes when they want to, not the other way around.

Getting back on the longevity issue, many health advocates say keeping a brain stimulated is essential towards living a healthier life. By going and taking classes, writing reports and taking exams, senior citizens are giving their brains one very proper workout, thus adding as much as a decade to their lives.

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So, the next time you look at a newspaper or web article extolling college graduates who just earned associate degrees at an advanced age, look at that person with a bit of admiration and respect.  They are actually doing themselves quite a bit of good by going back to school, many with the aid of online college grants just for their age group.

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