SF State’s College of Extended Learning offers an alternative way for older students to take classes. Through the ElderCollege program, anyone over 50 can enroll in classes for $55 per semester. Students attending classes under ElderCollege are not officially enrolled and take classes for no credit, but rather for the advancement of their own education.
The program provides affordable education to older individuals who want to continue their studies and empower themselves through higher learning.
In a letter of introduction to lecturers and professors, Dr. Alex Hwu, the interim dean of the College of Extended Learning, said, “The ElderCollege program is made up of a very active group of adults, 50 years and older, who are participating in a lifelong learning process.”
Hwu describes the lifelong learning process as a concept that emphasizes continuous, motivated learning throughout one’s entire life, and is practiced by universities in order to enable further education regardless of age.
Registration is simple and participants can take most of the classes on SF State’s schedule with the precaution that some classes offered may have prerequisites.
Participants do not show up on teachers’ rosters nor are they expected to take any exams or write papers. Instead, they attend simply to listen, learn and actively participate in discussion among classmates.
“I take two classes through the Jewish Studies Department,” said Tanya Berezin, a retiree taking classes through ElderCollege. “I have known about it [ElderCollege] for years, but obviously I couldn’t do very much while I was working. So once I stopped working I started looking into it.”
Tanya wanted to extend her learning and attend Jewish studies courses; in one class, she studies the culture, institutions and democracy of Israel. Additionally, she said that the program is a great deal for older students and she intends to take more classes.
The College of Extended Learning offers another program called Open University, targeted towards high school and community college students, as well as people outside of the school system motivated to learn, who wish to take classes for units. In the program, students can prepare themselves for higher education by obtaining experiences at a university without formal admission.
People eligible for ElderCollege can register at the One Stop Student Services Center or call (415) 405-7700 for more information.