For senior residents around Utah, taking classes at Dixie State University and other state-run institutions provides the opportunity for continued education beyond retirement.
House Bill 60 was implemented by the Utah House of Representatives to allow Utah residents aged 62 or older to audit university classes. According to the University of Utah, House Bill 60 was created with the intention to give senior residents a way “to keep current in their fields they know and love or learn something new.”
Just like their younger peers at DSU, senior-aged students go through an application process that involves a $35 application fee. Once accepted, DSU’s registration policy states senior-aged students can register for classes as long as there is no waitlist, with the exception of computer and fitness classes.
Instead of paying full price for each credit hour, these students pay $10 for each class they take along with the class fee and purchase of any textbooks.
Donna Coulson, a Sandy native, said House Bill 60 provides many benefits for older-aged students — a social environment, increase in knowledge and the chance to bring personal experiences to the classroom.
Pam Bird, a Utah State University alumna from Logan, said, “I like being in an academic environment when there is growth and creativity [while] being around intellectual people.”
Bird said she simply enjoys being in school.
Here at DSU, these nontraditional students can be found scattered throughout the campus. Craig Coulson, a University of Phoenix alumni from Nephi, has taken at least 10 or more classes to enhance his knowledge in areas outside his expertise. Craig Coulson already has a master’s degree in technology management, but he said returning to school keeps his brain busy.
Craig Coulson, who is now taking an assortment of art classes, said he has dipped his toes into various disciplines by taking guitar, Spanish, Chinese, screen printing and entrepreneurship classes. Though he has enjoyed most of his subjects, he said he likes the independence the art classes give him.
Donna Coulson, Craig Coulson’s wife, said she attends her DSU classes because she enjoys the knowledge she has gained.
“I have taken classes all of my life,” Donna Coulson said. “I started out wanting to be a teacher, but marriage and kids interrupted [that and] I just decided I liked getting the knowledge [without the diploma].”
For some senior-aged students, it affords them the opportunity to attend college when they never had the chance at a younger age. For others, the consumption of knowledge is too tempting to resist.
Bird jokingly said, “[College] keeps you alive.”