OPINION: USF can do more to welcome seniors

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Universities should focus on making higher education accessible to the older generation. Oracle Photo/Justin Secharan

When you look into a college classroom, you expect to see people in their late teens and early twenties — but that may not be the norm for long.

USF recently joined the Global Network of Age-Friendly Universities. accepted”Age appropriate” designation for research on aging and a commitment to providing lectures, workshops and networking events for individuals age 60 and older.

In this more than 100 universities network Strive to provide opportunities for seniors to pursue higher education as they seek a fresh start or advance their career path.

USF has set a great example by providing older students with opportunities they may have missed in their younger years. However, the university still needs accessibility improvements, such as increasing parking availability.

The university population of people aged 65 and over is growing rapidly, and is Estimate to double in the next 40 years.

USF currently has 200 students age 60 or older taking the courses. Adults in this age group are allowed Sign up Free in certain undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

While USF has made great strides in being age-friendly, there are still ways the campus can improve. One major method is to increase parking.

The 20,000 parking spaces on campus are not enough to accommodate more than 44,000. Students in the yard.

“With this age group, you don’t rush in the parking lot,” said Joseph McAuliffe, education program manager. Osher Institute for Lifelong LearningHe said. “Well, accessible parking is a must.”

OLLI provides resources for older students at the university. McAuliffe said OLLI can no longer host all of their classes on the USF campus. That’s because many of their students have mobility issues, McAuliffe says. Instead, he holds classes at various locations around Tampa Bay.

Increasing accessible parking is one step USF is taking to make higher education more accessible to older generations.

Many seniors did not have the time or money to attend college after high school.

“They want to have a fuller understanding of life,” McAuliffe said in a Nov. 21 interview with The Oracle.

USF student and former journalist Michael Gordon He was unable to complete his degree due to financial security concerns, choosing instead to start his career.

For these reasons, many adults missed the college experience at a young age and are now arriving.

By encouraging generations to attend college, universities can facilitate an environment where young students can learn from their knowledge and life experiences. Older students can learn from tech-savvy youngsters. This allows cross-generational teams to easily share knowledge and advice.

Many of these people are trying to achieve things they couldn’t at a younger age and universities have the opportunity to help them get there.

It is important for universities to recognize the demographics of the past. They need to feel welcome and empowered as they pursue opportunities they didn’t have in their youth.

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