April 19, 2002
TUITION WAIVERS FOR SENIORS
By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst
You asked (1) for a summary of the tuition waiver requirements for senior citizens at public colleges and universities, (2) when the requirement was adopted and any subsequent amendments, (3) whether the waiver covers courses funded with student fees, and (4) whether courses taken for free can apply toward a degree.
The law requires the University of Connecticut (UConn), Connecticut State University (CSU), and the regional community-technical colleges to waive tuition for Connecticut residents age 62 or older under certain conditions. The requirement was first adopted in 1974 and amended in 1989 and 1991. Tuition waivers do not cover courses funded from student fees. Courses taken for free can apply towards a degree.
TUITION WAIVER FOR SENIORS
At UConn or CSU, the tuition waivers for Connecticut residents age 62 or over apply when (1) the person has been admitted to the institution and is enrolled in a degree-granting program or (2) for a person not enrolled in a degree-granting program if, at the end of registration, there are enough paying students enrolled in the course to warrant offering it and there is enough room in the class for the person after all paying students have been accommodated.
At community-technical colleges, seniors can use their tuition waivers only when (1) space is available in a course after all paying students have been accommodated and (2) there are enough paying students for the college to offer the class. At community-technical colleges, this “space-available” requirement applies even to seniors enrolled in degree-granting programs.
The tuition waiver for seniors was originally enacted in 1974 (PA 282). The original waivers applied to seniors enrolled in degree-granting programs or when a course had space available. In 1989, the General Assembly limited the senior tuition waiver at the community-technical colleges only to those enrolling in courses with space available (PA 89-380). Finally, PA 91-303 made it clear that waivers can be used only for courses with enough paying students enrolled to warrant offering it.
The statutory waivers apply only to courses paid for out of colleges' tuition revenue and not to so-called “extension-fund” courses paid for from student fees. Extension courses are typically summer and evening classes. Often they are noncredit “enrichment courses” that are not part of degree programs.
COURSES TOWARD A DEGREE
A senior citizen who takes a course under the tuition waiver can apply credits earned from the course towards a degree.