by Cree McCree
- Older Americans are heading back to school — not to earn degrees, but for the sheer joy of learning. Auditing college courses keeps aging minds nimble without the stress of exams and grades.
- As Boomers hit their retirement years, taking classes for fun instead of credits is on the rise. About 60% of U.S. colleges now offer auditing opportunities for silver scholars, who range from their early 60s to well into their 80s (Philadelphia Inquirer 11.11.09).
- Seniors aren’t the only ones who benefit from intergenerational interaction. “[Auditors] ask great questions,” says Daniel Richter, a history professor at Penn. “And besides, they laugh at my jokes.”
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- Sudoku is all well and good, but nothing teases the brain better than the real deal: college-level coursework that challenges students to think.
- Auditing may begin in the classroom but it doesn’t end there. Older adults who engage in campus life, from special lectures to informal bull sessions, have more spring in their step.
- Sure, auditors pay just a fraction of student fees. But they expand a college’s outreach, building goodwill for the business of education.