Returning to School in Retirement: The ABCs of Keeping Costs Down
Millennials and Generation Z aren’t the only demographics gearing up for the start of a new school year. Plenty of Baby Boomers are preparing for the fall semester of college, with some enrolling for the first time ever.
USA Today reports that 388,000 students over the age of 50 are enrolled in community colleges, accounting for roughly 6% of the total community college population across the country. And those numbers are only expected to grow.
The true value of higher education
So, why are Baby Boomers hitting the books during retirement? For many, it’s the opportunity to explore a subject they love, but never had to the time to learn about during their working years. For others, it’s about staying marketable.
[Read: Rethinking Aging: Steps to Embrace Your Future]
Many older Americans are retiring, but not necessarily leaving the workforce. Studies show that up to 85% plan to work into their 70s and even 80s. As of February 2019, 20% of Americans over the age of 65 — a total of 10.6 million people — are either working or looking for work. Going back to school can be a positive step to update your skillset, stay mentally sharp, receive additional training in your field, and maintain financial security for a more comfortable retirement.
Sidestepping student loan debt
For retirees with the time and ambition, going back to school may be an appealing option. And many colleges are meeting that demand with special programs aimed at a more mature student body.
Across the country, colleges and universities are offering exclusive programs to make college classes affordable to retirees. At the University of Minnesota, for example, the Senior Citizen Education Program gives Minnesota residents age 62 and older the opportunity to attend classes for $10 or less. Kent State University's Senior Guest Program admits Ohio retirees, space permitting, to audit classes (take them without the benefit of a grade or credit) at no charge . Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society offers the largest adult continuing education program in the United States, serving over 25,000 new registrants each year. And Rutgers University allows retired New Jersey residents 62 and older to audit courses for free during the spring and fall semesters.
Of course, you’re not limited to these schools to get a good deal on your education — they’re just a few examples. AARP recommends the following tips to make the most of your financial options:
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There may be federal aid for the taking, from Stafford and Plus loans to Pell grants.
- Set up a 529 account. You may receive a state tax deduction and a chance to earn tax-free growth.*
- Seek a tax break. The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, for example, is worth up to $2,000 per year for those who qualify.*
- Apply for scholarships. Check out StudentScholarshipSearch and Fastweb to search for scholarships aimed at older adults.
College tuition can be prohibitively expensive. According to Student Loan Hero, 69% of 2018 graduates owe almost $30,000 in student loan debt — not an expense you want to be paying off during retirement. Be sure to contact the colleges or universities in your area to see what cost-saving opportunities are available.
Whatever you do, don’t let finances stop you
If you don’t have the extra funds available, or simply don’t qualify for available programs or aid, a reverse mortgage can be a smart financial tool to help offset the costs of continuing your education — whether it’s to cover substantial tuition expenses, or to help compensate for having a reduced income while you pursue your education (or both).
Available to homeowners age 62 or older, a reverse mortgage loan lets you borrow against your home equity, while still retaining ownership of your home and the equity in it. You can choose to receive a lump-sum amount, monthly advances, or a line of credit to help supplement your retirement savings and maintain the lifestyle you’ve earned.† As with any mortgage, there are loan obligations that must be met, including keeping current with property taxes, insurance and maintenance.
To learn more, reach out to Reverse Mortgage Funding at 888-277-1567. We’ll set up a convenient in-person appointment with an experienced loan specialist from your area who can answer your questions and walk you through the process.
This content is sponsored by RMF, one of the nation’s leading reverse mortgage lenders. We are dedicated to helping older Americans retire more freely, in the comfort of their own homes. As a result of our commitment to providing an extraordinary and positive customer experience, we have earned a 98% customer satisfaction rating; a 5-star / Excellent score on Trustpilot; 4.8 out of 5 stars on LendingTree; and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call 888-277-1567 to speak with a licensed reverse mortgage specialist to learn about our retirement financing products and solutions.
SEE WHAT FUNDS YOU MAY HAVE AVAILABLE
If you have equity in your home and believe you meet the eligibility requirements, a HECM may be the option that could help you retire smart.
*Not tax advice, consult a financial professional.
† Borrowers who elect a fixed rate loan will receive a single disbursement lump sum payment. Other payment options are available only for adjustable rate mortgages
This information is intended for those who are interested in financial education. This information is provided for convenience only, and RMF make no warranties concerning the accuracy or completeness of any of the information. Information is subject to change without notice, and RMF is under no obligation to provide updated information. Materials or statements made by a third party and located or posted on the Site are those of the third party and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RMF. This is not financial, tax, compliance or legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. Each individual should consult with his/her financial, tax, or legal professional. All mortgage origination services are provided by Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC, a state licensed mortgage lender, which is licensed or otherwise exempt from state licensing in the states in which it originates mortgage loans.