Fewer senior citizens take free classes at U of A

Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FAIRBANKS- Fewer senior citizens are taking advantage of a free-tuition program at the University of Alaska.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that in the past five years the number of people participating in the program has declined by about two-thirds, to 222 seniors last year.

The program provides free tuition to Alaskans who are eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits. More than 630 senior citizens throughout the state enrolled in 2006.

University officials say they aren't sure why participation has slipped, but a tight economy, changing age requirements and other opportunities for courses could play a role. Seniors still have to pay for textbooks and fees.

Regents considered eliminating the program in 2005, but relented in the face of opposition from seniors. Instead, they changed the age requirement from 60 to 65.

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