Opportunities Abound for Tuition-Free College Courses

By Carol Lynn Tiegs ~

Wouldn’t it be great to go back to college with all the joy of learning and none of the costs and none of the tests? At many colleges and universities across Colorado, you can.

Program names vary, but typically they offer people ages 55- to 65-plus the opportunity to take certain classes on campus at no charge. That’s right free. 

What’s the catch? You will not receive college credit for the courses. Participation is at the discretion of the class instructor to assure space is available and senior students have adequate prerequisite knowledge of the subject.

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Senior Auditors Program is open to individuals 55 and older, while the University of Colorado at Denver’s Lifelong Learners Program is open to those 60 and older. Exclusions include lab, online and computer classes, and those conducted through the Division of Extended Studies or at the Denver South or Anschutz Medical campuses.

Metropolitan State University Denver offers individuals 60 and older free, space-available classes at both its main and south campuses through its Metro Emeritus Program in the division of Innovation and Lifelong Learning.

In Greeley, University of Northern Colorado offers non-tuition courses to those 65 and older on a space-available basis. Senior Registration Services Specialist Nancy Covell said participants must register themselves through the Office of the Registrar. That office then verifies age. Participants are responsible for any course fees.

“Some classes have prerequisites, so we encourage (people) to talk with the professor to determine if they have the required background knowledge,” Covell said. “We have some people who do classes every semester and some who are interested in a particular subject.”

In Durango, Fort Lewis College’s Community Learners Program offers select courses to individuals 55 and above tuition-free. Courses in art, voice and musical instruments are excluded. Participants apply through the registrar’s office, which then works with course professors to insure class availability.

Western State College University (WSC) in Gunnison has a community auditors program and also offers programs through its Extended Studies division to individuals 62 and older at a 50 percent discount.

“Our local history courses are especially popular,” said Deanna Clark in WSC’s Registrar’s Office.

For more information on these programs contact the following:

And check with your local community college or university for lifelong learning opportunities they may offer.

Carol Lynn Tiegs, a Colorado writer, also volunteers for AARP