The end of summer has traditionally signaled the opening of schools for children. But school also will start soon for hundreds of senior citizens, who can enroll in adult education classes conducted by county education systems, community colleges and universities.
A year ago, the University of Maryland initiated its Golden I.D. progam, which allows the elderly to enroll in courses free of charge. Last year, several hundred seniors took advantage of the program. Previous education of registrants ranged from high school diplomas to doctoral degrees. While many audited courses, others earned regular college credit.
The Golden I.D. program is continuing this academic year. All Maryland residents over 60 are eligible, if not gainfullyemployed more than 20 hours a week. For undergraduate studies, apply to the Undergraduate Office, North Administration Building in College Park, telephone 454-5550. Undergraduates also may be admitted through University College,Center of Adult Education in College Park, telephone 454-5481. That office schedules classes primarily at night or on weekends and some courses are off-campus. Persons who are admitted last year and have their Golden I.D. cards do not need to reapply.
Graduate students should apply for admission through the Graduate School, South Administration Building in College Park, telephone 454-5429. Students must qualify for advanced study.
All daytime classes, graduate and undergraduate, begin in late August. University College classes begin in early September. You must be admitted before classes begin.
As students, senior citizens are apparently as successful as young people are. The registrar's offices have no particular problems to report, and some professors say they feel that older student add a desirable balance to their classes. Some instructors say that older students have particularly high interest and motivation, thus providing good models for the young.
Community colleges also offer free tuition to county residents over 60. In order to remain basically self-supporting, a minimum of 10 regular students must be enrolled before a senior citizen is enrolled free. Credit and non-credit courses are offered. Through the community services division, informal courses, ranging from art and auto mechanics to real estate and secretarial skills, are scheduled in neighborhood locations.
Schedules for community college courses are distributed to all county residents before the beginning of each term. The announcements give all needed information about registration, course offerings and class locations. They are day and night classes.
Increasingly popular are the informal courses scheduled in many community locations by the division of adult eduacation. These are free to senior citizens. Basic education courses (the three Rs and English as a second language) are free to adults of all ages. Every county resident regularly receives a complete schedule by mail with course descriptions and needed information about registration.
The following course descriptions, taken from the fall 1977 Montgomery County announcement, should give interested persons some idea of what is available to them.
Drawing and Painting: Beginning students will be exposed to basic drawing techniques before advancing to oils. The intermediate and advanced level student will be given the opportunity to paint at his own pace with constuctive criticism and individual instruction offered.
Basic Automotive Maintenance: This course is designed to teach car owners simple maintenance service they can perform in their driveway.
The Bible Dictionary: This slide-lecture presentation provides a geographic and archeological look at the Bible Lands that authentic and relevant. Religious beliefs will not be discussed.
Humanistic Psychology: A comprehensive program of lectures, group discussions and demonstrations about man's behavioral dispositions. It offers perspectives from which to view behavior in adults, children and adolescents.
The philosophy if adult education is, "You're never too old to learn." This philosophy is amply supported by research that demonstrates older persons are as capable of learning as they ever were. Last year in Prince George's County alone, more than 1,000 senior citizens have demonstrated that.