Many states offer 50% off or free tuition to senior citizens aged 55+ for public schools. Though these public state schools do offer discounts, if you're looking for a private, Christian college that also offers help for adult students, this article can help.
The below table looks at four colleges of different denominations. Along with undergraduate tuition (for comparison), we've included the senior discounts that you can expect from each of the schools.
|School Name||Institution Type||Denomination||Location||Undergraduate Tuition (2017-2018)*||Senior Discount|
|Trinity Christian College||4-year, private not-for-profit||Interdenominational||Palos Heights, IL||$28,675||SALT Program ($35 annual fee; classes $15-$40)|
|Georgetown University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Roman Catholic||Washington, DC||$52,300||$50 Audits|
|Seattle Pacific University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Free Methodist||Seattle, WA||$40,893||Free Tuition|
|Maranatha Baptist University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Baptist||Watertown, WI||$14,910||50% Off|
|Texas Christian University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)||Fort Worth, TX||$44,760||$145 for 3 Classes|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
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Overview Senior Citizen Discounts
These four colleges are Christian colleges that offer special programs for seniors, along with partial or full tuition discounts. While some courses only allow you to audit, other schools offer full degree programs. All colleges offer faith-based activities to take part in, as well.
Trinity Christian College
At Trinity Christian College, you'll find the SALT Program for seniors. SALT, which stands for Seasoned Adults Learning at Trinity, is for those who are 55 and over. There is a membership fee of $35 per year; however, this membership includes a lot of benefits and deals. Along with free campus parking and wifi on campus, you can also take SALT classes at a discount: take three classes, and the fourth is free. While these classes are not traditional credit-bearing courses, the college offers a variety of lecture course topics. As a SALT member, you can also attend any Trinity traditional course as a 'listener.' Some of the topics may include graphic novels, bird watching, the Reformation, growing food in public schools, pickle ball, and the Great Depression, among many others. Cost of taking a SALT class ranges from $15 to $40. Also as a SALT member, you'll have access or 'invitation' to any on campus events, such as worship opportunities, women's ministry, prayer events, or plays.
If you are over 65 years old, you can join the Senior Citizen Auditor Program at Georgetown University. Considering U.S. News and World Report listed Georgetown as the 20th best school in the entire nation, being able to audit a course at the college for just $50 is a great opportunity. For any lower level course of interest, you simply go to the first class meeting. If the class isn't full, and the professor agrees with you auditing, you'll fill out a form and pay by check ($50 per class) at the Graduate Liberal Studies Office. For Christians, there are sacred spaces all over campus, worship services, and group meditations. Throughout the year, retreats are also available.
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle Pacific University is the only one on this listing where you can seek out a full degree program for free. The Senior Citizen Program offers tuition-free courses that can be used toward a degree program should you choose. Those that are not used for a bachelor's degree are also free, but all fees may not be covered for all courses. If you are over 65 and wish to take one of the undergraduate degree programs, you will need to pay an application fee and apply formally. Some of the undergraduate degree programs available at Seattle Pacific include human biology, apparel design, Asian studies, Christian theology, ecology, food & nutritional sciences, and sociology. Each week, chapel is held and a special guest is invited to speak or perform for the student body.
Maranatha Baptist University
Since one of the schools at Maranatha Baptist University is a seminary, it should come as no surprise that campus ministry is a strong focus at the school. Though there is no campus church, students are required to attend a local church throughout the matriculation. Chapel is on campus, however, and students must attend chapel services Monday through Friday. Though the college is made up of about 11 schools, it's the Maranatha Baptist Seminary that offers the Senior Citizen Scholarship for students 55 and older. There is a Seminary Test Drive program, which provides two tuition-free credit hours to see if the seminary life is right for you. If it is, you can then apply for the Senior Citizen Scholarship which covers 50% of tuition. These seminary programs are all graduate programs in divinity, ministry, and Biblical studies.
Texas Christian University
A program called the Silver Frogs is offered for senior citizens 50+ at Texas Christian University. It is offered by the TCU Extended Education department along with several classes that are open to the public for a fee. If you decide to join the Silver Frogs program, the cost is $145 per semester for a single or $260 for a couple. The fee pays for three non-credit courses, three lectures, and three luncheon lectures. You'll also have access to some special events put on by the school. Some of these events may include theater, music worship, and sports matches. There are several faith-based activities to get involved with as well, such as the Disciples on Campus (DOC). The Labyrinth is a guided path that helps students with meditation and prayer, and the Silver Frogs membership provides access to campus chapel and sacred spaces as well as a parking pass.