Wising up

Fees vary by province and institution. But a typical three-credit course in literature, history or art appreciation for someone 65 or older at a university ranges from nothing in six provinces to $585 in Ontario. (Three-credit courses each call for three hours a week over 10 to 16 weeks. A full degree generally requires 100 credits.)

Those universities offering free part-time tuition to seniors are Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and, if you live there, British Columbia.

Elsewhere, the cost of a three-credit course or the equivalent is $330 at Newfoundland’s Memorial University, $339 at the University of New Brunswick and $111 to Québec residents at McGill, in Montréal.

More nominal fees are available for less formal subjects at municipal and community organizations. The Toronto District School Board, for example, asks $3.50 for a two-hour arts and crafts course or lessons in arts and crafts, tai-chi, ceramics, dancing, art and language history. And each year from October through March, roughly 20,000 seniors respond to the call. Fees for this type of course vary by city but one other example is the Vancouver School Board’s fall a winter program, which attracts up to 3,000 seniors to, among 1,800 other courses, 10-hour computer classes and 20-hour language sessions for 50 per cent of the regular $84 fee.