Here is an excerpt from an article written by Dave Carpenter, AP personal finance writer, about a personal friend of mine, Pete Shannon. In certain respects, Pete is representative of his generation; in other respects, he really is “one of a kind.” To read the complete article, please click here.
Note: In this photo made Aug. 3, 2010, college student Pete Shannon, 78, is photographed at his home in Dallas. Shannon is among a growing number of retirees who will be going back to school in the fall. (AP Photo/Cody Duty)
Since retiring as a certified public account in 2004, he has taken for-credit classes in history, English, German, Spanish, psychology and other subjects, and is considering taking philosophy and music composition in the upcoming semester.
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CHICAGO (AP) — Nearly six decades after graduating from college, Pete Shannon still can’t get enough of lectures and homework assignments.
The 78-year-old Dallas retiree has taken dozens of classes at his local community college since he stopped working as a CPA in 2004. This summer he studied music composition, and in the fall he plans to tackle philosophy and whatever else piques his interest.
Exams can be challenging, but one thing he doesn’t sweat is tuition bills. In one of many such arrangements across the country, Dallas County residents age 65 and over get up to six hours’ tuition free at Richland College every semester.
“It’s a marvelous opportunity,” Shannon says, calling the college his “candy store.” ”It’s a wonderful place to go. The catalog is rich with all kinds of classes.”
From continuing education and enrichment classes to graduate school, many retirees are pursuing their interests at the college level.
It’s a trend that is likely to grow as seniors’ ranks swell with baby boomers looking to either acquire new job skills or simply enjoy new learning experiences.
The prospect of having to pay for even moderately priced college classes might sound daunting to a retiree living on fixed income. But numerous discounts, tuition waivers and other deals make it possible.
“There are more opportunities than in the past for senior citizens to take college classes and get help paying for them,” says financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com.
Many community colleges and some four-year colleges allow seniors to audit classes for free and significantly reduce tuition for those who take them for credit. The financial arrangements vary widely by school and so do the age requirements — generally 60, 62, or 65 and over.
Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., offer free tuition for senior citizens at some or all of their public colleges, according to FinAid.org. The student still must buy textbooks and may have to pay fees.
Two relatively new opportunities offer even more help.
The Senior Scholarships program, created last year as part of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, provides $1,000 education awards for people 55 or older who volunteer 350 or more hours a year. The money may be used for the volunteer’s own education or transferred to a child, foster child or grandchild.
And the American Opportunity tax credit can lower taxes for students of any age dollar-for-dollar for the first $2,000 spent on tuition, fees and course materials. The credit also applies to 25 percent of the second $2,000. Unless extended, the temporary credit expires at year’s end.
More seniors might head back to school if they knew about the deep discounts and freebies — or lived near colleges. As it is, education remains an untapped resource for most.
According to data released in June by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans from age 65 to 74 say they spend 6.77 hours on leisure and sports on a typical weekday, watch 3.58 hours of TV, spend 0.71 hour reading, 0.59 hour socializing and 0.03 hour on education. That’s less than two minutes, compared to 0.46 hour or about 28 minutes for the population as a whole.
Shannon, who got his undergraduate degree in business economics from Rice University in 1953, is happy to stay in school for life. He says he takes college classes to get out of the house, at his wife’s urging, and exercise his brain. The rest of him gets a workout, too, as he often bikes the 4½ miles to campus.
A perfect 4.0 grade-point average through 114 credit hours shows he’s not taking any mental shortcuts.
The rest of him gets a workout, too, as he often bikes the 4½ miles to campus.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Here is a brief excerpt from my interview of Mayeux. The complete interview is also available.
Morris: You now present programs that focus on business books. Which was the first business book that you read and have you since re-read it?
Mayeux: It had to be either Megatrends or The Popcorn Report. I remember thinking that both of them seemed to open up whole new worlds to me when I read them. And I suspect that Tom Peters was important when I first started paying attention to business books. It was a Tom Peters book that I presented at our very first First Friday Book Synopsis in April, 1998: The Circle of Innovation. Have I re-read these? No – I seldom re-read any book (other than the Nero Wolfe mysteries). I probably should, but there is always another new book to read…
Morris: Of all the non-business books you have read thus far, from which two or three have you learned the most about great leadership?
Mayeux: I have to start with Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf. He wrote: “The servant leader is servant first. “It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first.” Visionary leadership is described well in the Halberstam book, The Powers that Be. His stories of William Paley are quite breathtaking – Paley’s vision for television when there were very few actual televisions in the country was astonishing. And, for a practical book, “how should I function as a leader of actual people?” it is hard to beat Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. They include “seven essentials of encouraging” that should be must reading for any leader.
Morris: How about films that examine great leadership?
Mayeux: How about films and television? I really like the President Bartlett character (portrayed by Martin Sheen) on The West Wing and Isaac Jaffe on Sports Night (portrayed by Robert Guillaume), both characters created by Aaron Sorkin. The Isaac Jaffe character is a great leader. Check out the clip from Sports Night when Isaac Jaffe takes a stand (Isaac and the Confederate Flag, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm0e1y5l028). There are plenty of great leaders depicted in movies. It really is hard to choose. I think Ben Bradlee, as portrayed in All The President’s Men, had the right mix of correction, push, and encouragement for the then young Woodward and Bernstein team. And I agree with one blogger I once read who said that Finding Forrester shows a near perfect mentoring relationship.
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If you wish to read the complete interview, please contact me at email@example.com.
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