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The Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio Department of Aging Lifelong Learning

About Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is the continuing pursuit of knowledge to build skills, explore new ideas, enhance understanding and enrich life. Recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show that adult students are the fastest growing educational demographic. As human beings, we never stop learning. Studies have shown that continuing education, even well beyond the traditional retirement age, can help maintain or buffer our physical and mental well-being.

Many agencies, organizations and higher education partners are developing and offering high-quality, credit and non-credit lifelong learning opportunities for older adults. All state colleges and universities offer the over-60 learner the opportunity to attend classes at no cost, but many institutions and organizations support efforts to provide an enhanced continuing education experience for older learners.

Please note: The links on this page are provided for reference purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by the Ohio Department of Aging of the institutions and programs listed. The department does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, nor do we assume any liability from its use. If you discover errors or represent a program that we do not have listed, please contact us.

Lifelong Learning Institutes

A lifelong learning institute (LLI), or institute for learning in retirement (ILR), is a community-based organization of retirement-age people interested in continuing their educations beyond retirement. Although each LLI is as unique as its members, most are sponsored by a college or university and provide non-credit academic programs developed by the members. Membership is typically open to all enthusiastic retirement-age learners regardless of previous education. LLIs are structured like typical college programs, with regular semesters and coursework. They also may provide volunteer opportunities that help members build relationships with each other and their communities.

The following institutions offer lifelong learning institutes in Ohio:

Other Lifelong Learning Opportunities and Resources

Several national, state, community and other organizations provide diverse opportunities for older Ohioans to engage in lifelong learning through a variety of programs and experiences.

Other potential sources of lifelong learning opportunities include local health provider organizations, high schools and more. For help finding opportunities in your area, contact your area agency on aging or your county or municipal office on aging.

Free College Courses

In order to promote lifelong personal improvement and community involvement, Ohio's four-year universities and two-year technical colleges allow residents age 60 and older to attend classes at no cost. Participation is limited to classes with space available and must be approved by the instructor. In most cases, no college credit is earned and some costs (such as books, equipment and lab fees) may apply. Contact the admissions or registrar's office of a participating college or university for more details. Be sure to ask about class availability at regional and affiliated campuses near you.

The following colleges and universities offer free courses for Older Ohioans: