College Towns Make Great Places to Retire
Affordable Housing Prices in college town housing markets are often quite reasonable. In the Coldwell Banker College Home Price Comparison Index released in November 2009, the average 2,200-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home cost less than $250,000 in 62 percent of the college markets surveyed.Akron, Ohio, home to the University of Akron, led the way in home bargains with an average price of $121,885. Muncie, Ind., home to Ball State University, averaged $144,996. Homes in Ann Arbor, Mich., site of the University of Michigan's main campus, showed an average of $148,000.Still, housing isn't cheap in every college market. Palo Alto, Calif., home to Stanford University, topped the list of the most expensive college markets with an average home price of $1,489,726, followed by Los Angeles at $1,347,125 and Boston at $1,337,578.
Most colleges and universities have a continuing education division that frequently offers classes and special programs for retirees, sometimes with free or low-cost admission.
In Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University's program lets residents ages 60 or older audit noncredit classes at no charge, if space allows.
The Bernard Osher Foundation supports nearly 120 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, or OLLI, at U.S. colleges and universities, with programs designed for those 50 and older. Classes are all about learning just for fun -- no homework or tests -- and there are usually lots of field trips.
The OLLI at the University of Texas in Austin (No. 5 on the TopRetirements.com list of the "100 best retirement towns" and No. 2 on Money's list of the "Best cities to live in") has five different membership programs. A new addition launching in fall 2010, called UT NOVA, has a curriculum that includes a seminar on the humor of Noel Coward and a lecture titled "Everything you want to know about memory but forgot to ask." At the University of Georgia in Athens, the OLLI program offers a wide range of courses, from "Great books" to "Facebook."
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