Elderhostel is a worldwide network of educational opportunities for students who are at least 55 years old. Spouses and traveling companions may be younger. The average domestic program costs $425 per student. This fee includes room, board, and a week of stimulating, thought-provoking, challenging college-level liberal arts and humanities courses.
No prior academic experience is needed to enjoy Elderhostel. People from all educational and career backgrounds participate in these programs. The Virginia Center on Aging, with headquarters at Virginia Commonwealth University, sponsors nearly 100 Elderhostel programs per year at several sites in Virginia. For more information, visit their web site by clicking on the link above, or contact them by calling (804) 828-1525.
Section §23-38.56 of the Code of Virginia (also known as the Senior Citizens Higher Education Act) states that Virginians age 60 and older may take college courses without paying tuition. Older citizens may register for and enroll in courses in any state institution of higher education (subject to the admission requirements of the institution) as a full-time or part-time student for academic credit if their federal taxable income does not exceed $15,000 per year. The State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) has a fact sheet on the Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver.
Virginians age 60 and older, regardless of income, may register for and audit courses in any Virginia institution of higher education. Students may have to pay for course materials and laboratory fees. For more information, contact the admissions office of the state college or university nearest you. SCHEV offers a listing of state colleges and universities.
Many state colleges and universities now offer special adult learner programs which allow older individuals to return to the classroom and earn a degree. These programs may give older persons some college credits based upon their life and work experiences. They also offer special counseling and support services to assist and encourage the older student. To learn if special adult learner programs are offered in your community, contact the state college or university nearest you.