Senate kills bill offering free college classes to older adults

BISMARCK—The North Dakota Senate has killed a proposal to allow older North Dakota residents to earn college credit for free.

House Bill 1385 would have allowed North Dakota residents 65 and older to attend any undergraduate class at the state’s public colleges without paying tuition and fees.

The ability to join a class was limited to whether open seats remained after regularly admitted students signed up. The bill did not apply to online classes.

The students under the bill’s terms would not have been required to demonstrate the academic achievements normally required of students.

Supporters have said the bill is a way to give back to the state’s older residents and for colleges to build relationships with senior citizens. The House approved the bill on a 65-29 vote.

However, senators expressed several concerns about the bill, including the fairness of giving a “free pass” to older students and not traditional college students.

Senators also pointed to initiatives already in place for the state’s older residents. North Dakota University System policy now allows colleges to waive the audit fee for on-campus courses for those 65 and older. Audited classes do not count as credit.

Opponents have also questioned the provision about these students not needing to demonstrate academic achievements and the burden this could put on the course instructor.

The bill died on a 9-37 vote.

5 thoughts on “Senate kills bill offering free college classes to older adults

  1. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX Once again, our elected official show their lack to ability to even think. A student, over the age of 65 would be, would you say about 70 [or older] at graduation [if they made it that far] and would have how many years productive life to payback the expense of a college degree?? While a traditional student would be expected to graduate at about age 22 – 24 and have how many years productive life? Can you say 40 + years??

    Obviously, our elected house has a much better grip on reality than the senators do. I suspect that there might be a few people out there who were either unable to attend college when young, or did not finish the degree who might just have “a degree” in their “Bucket List” [to do before I die] — but do not have the funds to expend on something that will do little to improve their lifestyle.

  2. If you dont have to pay for health insurance, you shouldn’t get free education. Seniors are allready too big of a drain on a system they didnt all pay in to!
    Leave it to seniors to want something for free! Audit the class. We dont have to legislate for your bucket list!

  3. XXXXXXXXX Jason, get real. The seniors HAVE paid, for FIFTY years they have paid, and XXXXXXXXX then they still have to PAY to draw what they paid into. See that line on your XXXXXXXXX pay stub for a deduction for Medicare/Medicaid? What do you suppose that is for?? Then, when they go to draw on it, they must pay a MONTHLY fee to do so. Seniors do not want something for free, they just want what they have a right to have because they have paid into it. And the unions think that they are getting the sh*ft. They truly get something for free ………

  4. In Minnesota, we had the provision that allowed residents over age 62 to audit classes. That was revised to 66 when we had the budget crunch a few years ago therefore it is four more years to audit. I audited one class before the change and I can tell you this. The people who take these classes do so for different reasons. One of my reasons was that I wanted to prep for and pay later for a class I need for a Paralegal Certificate. I was no additional work for the professor because I did not participate in tests, I only sat in on the class. Most reasonable people would believe that it is better for people to keep their minds expanding even as they age rather than stagnate into the rest home.
    Personally, I have no plans to retire and expect that it will be necessary for me to continue working until I expire. What a rhyme.
    The college building that the current students sit in were paid for with the taxes of those who are reaching retirement age now. They have paid for the privilege of taking classed after a lifetime of supporting the system. It is not probable that contributing people will stop doing so even after they retire.
    I would like to finish my degree as above but I couldn’t care any less if I audited classes of interest without credit. It is the knowledge gained that counts—not the credits listed on a transcript. Any college professor will tell you that many students are only there for the credits toward a degree and not for learning any more than is necessary. I am not one of them.

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