If you are returning or going to school for the first time, you are not alone.  Scores of retirees are returning to school and hitting the books.  They have decided it's never too late to learn. 

While you may not feel that you fit in with your 19-year-old fellow students, it all adds to the educational experience.  Many older students have returned, not to necessarily earn a degree, but to learn more and keep their minds sharp.

Retirees returning to school are eligible for scholarships and financial aid.  There are even scholarships from your state that are specifically for seniors.  You can also check your eligibility for a scholarship with USA funds.

If you do not want to deal with the hassle of scholarships and financial aid, many schools are offering seniors discounted or free tuition because they have empty spaces in the classroom.  So older students don't have to spend their pensions in order to increase their knowledge.

Schools have come to realize that there are benefits in having a full class.  Plus, seniors contribute different perspectives and diversity which contributes to an even greater educational experience.

If seniors are interested in education but not going on-campus they have the option of taking classes online. These classes allow seniors to stay inside of their homes and learn.  They don't have to worry about cold weather or getting to campus.  They can learn, turn in assignments, and chat with teachers but they will miss out on the personal interaction that they would have with students and teachers on campus.

Now if seniors want to return but are worried about being absent so long; many colleges offer classes that can help you catch up.  There is also tutoring, and academic counseling which can help students with their transition back to school.  Although you may feel uncomfortable and confused at first, there are options out there that can help you.  Lily Allen, 72 returned to the classroom after 50 years and earned a B.S. in Gerontology.

While education in the classroom is a great fit for some, study abroad fits others better.  Many seniors over 55 can take an Elderhostel trip.  While many may not get college credit for it, they are able to see, learn, and experience the world with others at a fairly modest price. 

If you aren't quite that daring and wish to stay within the U.S. or your neighborhood, there are programs that can give you a cultural experience, without leaving your comfort zone.  These programs can last anywhere from a day to several weeks, and the costs also vary greatly.

Seniors that are interested in returning to the classroom have some great options.  The financial burden isn't as heavy as it once was and students have the option to pursue courses online or on-campus. Plus, they can also get out and see the world. Retirement really is the best time of life. 

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