16:52 PM

Program 60 helps Ohio residents learn, bond through Ohio State

A program that allows Ohio residents age 60 or older to take tuition-free classes at The Ohio State University is helping these students connect with each other and a rapidly changing world.

Eligible students attend undergraduate, graduate-level and distance learning courses through Program 60 on a space-available basis. The program is operated out of the university’s Office of Distance Education and eLearning and has existed at Ohio State in one form or another for more than 40 years.

The program also has an opportunity for service and social events through the Program 60 Association.

“The idea is that continued education really doesn’t end when you graduate. And there’s space and your tax dollars have paid for the university, and continue to pay for the university. If there’s space available, why not have a senior in that space?” said Sid Druen, a trustee for the Program 60 Association. “At the same time, seniors have an insight that perhaps the students can understand and perhaps use in their education as they go forward.”

President Michael V. Drake was invited to address attendees of the Program 60 Association’s fall luncheon this week. Drake pointed to studies that show people who graduate college earn more income over their lifetime than people with only a high school degree. He also said studies show that people who have a college degree tend to live between five and seven years longer than those with a high school degree.

“I’ve always felt that’s a perpetual motion machine. If college can help you live five to seven years longer, well you should stay in college forever,” he joked. “What would 20 years of college get you?”

For Krishna Boba, a Dublin resident, the college courses are not just about improving his lifestyle – it’s about staying on top of a rapidly changing world.

“Technology is changing. The way we live is changing. So to stay in touch with all the changes that are taking place, there is no better place than a university to monitor and distill all this information and give it out in the form of a lecture,” he said. “And to me that’s a very efficient way of staying in touch.”

Boba has participated in Program 60 since 2011, taking classes on energy and sustainability as well as retail marketing and advanced manufacturing. He sees it as a chance to stay connected to the next generation.

“I’m in class with the leaders of tomorrow. We do have conversations and I keep telling them we are all the future.”