At some colleges, ‘senior year’ has new meaning

With freshman enrollment down, some universities see incentive in catering to retirees. On-campus senior living facilities are way swankier than any frat house you've been in.

December 23, 2019

Nontraditional students in their 60s and older are enrolling in college classes. Obviously, they need a place to live…

… and your crappy old dorm won’t do

At Arizona State University, Mirabella is an ultra-luxe 252-unit high-rise developed in partnership between the school and a private real-estate firm. The minimum age requirement to live here is 62, and apartments range from $380k to $1m.

The building also boasts amenities such as a fitness center, space for art and woodworking, and a dedicated library. Other schools that have implemented or are considering senior-living spaces:

  • Lasell University near Boston
  • University of Michigan
  • Oberlin College in Ohio
  • University of Central Florida

Some offer assisted living options, which in theory could include rotations with med school residents.

Biochemistry beats bingo any day

Retirees are taking measures to stay in their homes for as long as possible, so the senior housing market isn’t as hot as you’d think.

Still, many of the university senior-housing projects fill up fast. This could be because a life of academe is more exhilarating than aquacises and “Forrest Gump” screenings in the rec room.

Universities have ample incentives to cater to this demographic. State government subsidies for higher ed are down, and so is the number of high school grads heading to college. Meanwhile, the number of retiring baby boomers is set to rise for several more years.

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