Lifelong learners have a home at The University of Akron

01/02/2022

Thanks to the Sixty-Plus (60+) program at The University of Akron (UA), senior adults can pursue long-dormant passions and study anything from pottery to political science to Greek Art this Spring.

Part of UA’s Adult Focus, 60+ gives Ohio residents, ages 60 and older, the opportunity to audit classes on a space-available basis. Auditing allows students to enroll in courses, but college credit is not awarded. Sixty-plus students may register for up to 11 credits per academic term.

Scott Roberts, assistant director of Adult Focus, explained that while the 60+ program is available at all public universities in Ohio, “we just do it a little differently at The University of Akron. We provide an office where all of our 60+ students can have close contact with someone to help guide them.”

Registration begins a week before the semester starts. For Spring Semester 2022, sign up will be held Jan. 3-7. 

Prospective students receive reminders and connect with the office through email, online or in person, in order to get the classes they want and to learn about the program itself.

“We want to make this an enjoyable, lifelong learning experience,” said Roberts.

And, it turns out, the experience is beneficial to everyone in the classroom. Older students add something special to classes they attend with traditional-aged students. They ask different questions and bring a unique perspective.

“Their insight really broadens the subject being taught,” Roberts added. “The other students get a better experience by having seasoned adults in those classes.”

Professors also appreciate the older students who enroll in their courses. Typically, the 60+ group needs less supervision and aren’t afraid to interact in class. Often, said Roberts, they’ll form clusters and take classes together.

“The friendships they are able to form are crucial for individuals at this life stage,” Roberts added.

Laura Conley, director of Adult Focus, agreed that the social connections are priceless, especially for the older population. “Our 60+ students can meet others and take advantage of all the campus amenities, such as swimming at the Rec center. It brings a wonderful mix of people to campus.”

It’s also an affordable program for those who may be on a fixed income. Sixty-plus students don’t pay tuition or the general services fee, and they don’t earn grades, unless they are pursuing a degree.

However, they do need to pay for parking on campus and books. There may be other nominal fees associated with a given course too.

If a prospective student feels apprehensive about any technology demands, Roberts noted, there is an orientation—and people who will help them one-on-one.

If you are interested in the 60+ program at The University of Akron, you can download a Sixty-Plus (60+) application at the website: uakron.edu/60/ or request a form by calling or 330-972-5793. The email address is sixtyplus@uakron.edu.