Savvy Senior Retiring On Campus

by | April 13, 2005 12:00 am

Dear Savvy Senior Some friends of mine recently moved back to their alma mater at The University of Florida in Gainesville to retire. They told me they were moving into the new university retirement housing complex near campus that offers many different university activities like access to classes, a performing arts center and even a woodworking shop. My question is can you tell me if there are any other colleges or universities offering this same type of service and where I can find them? I’m a 68-year-old widower, and this sounds like something I would also like, but I can’t handle the heat down in Florida.

College Bound Bob Dear Bob, There are actually about 20 university-linked retirement communities throughout the country and about 30 more in the planning or building stages. These places get senior living community consulting to help them with development and branding. Universities like Michigan, Arizona, Penn State and Notre Dame have these communities, just to name a few. If you’re the type of person who enjoys being around young people and values the concept of life-long learning, this is a nice option to consider.

Perfect Retirement

The idea of a perfect retirement is much different today than it was 25 years ago. Yesterdays retirees tended to be more interested in leisure and recreation, while today, the ideal retirement trend is more about working, staying active and personal growth with some people looking to visit this site while thinking about where they would like to retire and if they could afford to do so. That’s where colleges and universities come in, by offering their alumni, retired faculty and other interested retirees a retirement community lifestyle that provides intellectual enrichment with unlimited social opportunities. And the timing couldn’t be better. With more than 35 million people currently over the age of 65, and another 77 million baby boomers rapidly approaching retirement age, it’s a good time to be reaching out to a whole new “senior” class.

Retirement Housing

There’s no standard blueprint for university-linked retirement communities. Housing facilities and cost will vary. For example, some retirement communities are built on campus, some near by. Some offer rentals (costing between $1000 and $3000) while others may be purchased. Some feature single-family homes, condos or apartments for independent living only, while others may offer life-care facilities called continuing care retirement communities (CCRC). These provide independent housing as well as assisted living and nursing home care for residents as they age. CCRCs usually require a hefty entrance fee (between $100,000 and $1 million) along with monthly charges that may include meals, personal assistance, housing services and medical care.

Campus Amenities

The amenities will also vary from college to college, but most offer their residents access to university classes (to audit or work towards a degree), campus cultural and sporting events, libraries and fitness facilities. Residents will also have unlimited social opportunities through volunteering, tutoring, mentoring, part-time teaching or participating in research projects.

Savvy Resource

Campus Continuum: Provides a clearinghouse of information and resources on university-linked retirement communities and provides links to many current facilities. If you’re interested in learning more about retiring on or near a college campus, visit and take their new survey (it takes five minutes to fill out) that helps provide U.S. colleges and universities valuable information on the growing interest of retiring on campus. For free information, send a written request and list the college or university you’re interested in to: Campus Continuum, 17 Cushing Street, Newton, MA 02461.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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