Retirement can be the ideal time to return to school and study what you’ve always wanted to learn more about. Not only do you have time and wisdom on your side, but you also have enough financial security to avoid the typical college lifestyle of messy dormitories and basic meals.
If you’re dreaming of both moving house and studying after you retire, a home close to a college could be the perfect solution. But how do you narrow down where to live and learn? Here are our top 3 retiree-friendly college cities that would make a great new hometown.
1. Berkeley, California
Berkley is situated on the shore of the San Francisco Bay, and is driving distance from several breathtaking parks including Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve and Tilden Regional Park. So, if field trips are your favorite way to learn, then Berkeley's pleasant weather and easy walkability may be just up your alley.
The city is well known for its politically progressive atmosphere, bolstered by the presence of the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). It’s also home to one of the largest religious studies institutions in the world, the Graduate Theological Union, making it the perfect place to pursue religious studies. The campuses are within walking distance of each other, allowing you to take a variety of classes across the institutions. And if extra-curricular arts and cultural immersion are among your priorities, you’ll be happy to know that the city boasts 3.05 museums per square mile, as well as live theatre and musical shows.
Because of its proximity to San Francisco, Berkeley does have a real estate market that could leave some looking elsewhere. Housing trends in Berkeley show a 2% year-over-year rise in median sales price and a -15% drop in median rent per month, with the median sales price of a house coming in at $1,100,00. But, if you have the money, then a stunning home is not hard to come by with beautiful architecture being a constant across the city.
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
With a population of 117,770, Ann Arbor is the sixth largest city in the state, and the location of the University of Michigan. Split between two campuses, this highly-regarded college provides half-price tuition to students over the age of 65. What’s more, as one of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, noncredit educational programs are available to people aged 50 and up. The goal of these courses is to rekindle the joy of learning among more mature students without the stresses of tests, grades, and drills.
As far as climate goes, the city experiences harsh winters because of its vicinity to the Great Lakes, but the leafy parks and gardens, including the much loved Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden, more than make up for this in spring. The city has a quaint small town atmosphere, and residents are just a couple of hours from the Canadian border for an easy international adventure.
Another benefit of Ann Arbor is its reasonable real estate market, with the median sales price of a home coming in at $280,000 and and the median rent being $2,000 a month. Trends show a 4% year-over-year rise in median sales price and a 3% rise in median rent per month. This means the city is still an affordable option.
3. Austin, Texas
If arts and culture are your primary focus then look no farther than Austin, Texas. The city is widely known for the annual South by Southwest Conferences & Festivals, which take place every spring and celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.
Austin is also home to The University of Texas, which boasts an impressive 7 museums and 17 libraries on its campus alone. One of the most famous of these buildings is the Blanton Museum of Art, which boasts the nation’s largest university-owned collection, with a recently re-imagined permanent exhibition and world-class temporary exhibitions.
University of Texas is also an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, offering 5 different programs, from single-lecture classes to six-week seminars conducted three times a year. In addition to this, University of Texas offers Informals Classes in a variety of disciplines and areas of interest such as health and wellness, the humanities, and performing arts. All of these can be accessed through UT’s Extended Campus, and some courses can even be taken online if you’re unable to move to the city.
Nature-lovers will appreciate the variety of green spaces to explore both within city limits and just a short drive away. One of the most charming vistas can be caught from St. Edward’s Park, known locally as the “country within the city.”
Austin falls in the mid-range point of real estate pricing with an average list price of $607,276, and a median rental cost of $1,895 per month. Trends in Austin show a -2% week-over-week drop in average listing price and a 2% rise in median rent per month.
Finding the Right College Town for You
These 3 college towns offer a range of different schooling opportunities, outdoor environments, and extra-curricular activities to suit every studying preference and moving budget. But no matter where you choose to live and learn, it’s important to consider a variety of factors when making your decision. This will not only improve your learning experience, but also your quality of life. Though you may begin by seeking out an affordable real estate market, the offerings of the nearby school and the atmosphere of the city will play a huge role in an enjoyable retirement filled with fun and learning.