Nightly News   |  February 20, 2013

College towns doubling as retirement communities

Older adults are re-living their college years by settling into areas where they can attend a university class, go to a football game, or take advantage of free lectures. NBC’s Chris Jansing reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we here have learned this week a full third of americans say now they're not saving nearly enough money to prepare for retirement. the problem, of course, is just the cost of daily life and keeping up with it. but for those who are lucky enough, the traditional plan involves taking it easy, ideally, after working hard. not everybody fits that mold, of course. and a growing number of retirees are moving to some unlikely places. some heading back to school and making quite an arrival on campus in the process. our report tonight from nbc's chris jansing .

>> reporter: on most saturday afternoons during football season, bonnie and denny seabert do what they love most, cheering on the ole miss rebels with family and friends in oxford, mississippi.

>> we came down for football and enjoyed it so much, there was so much to do, right, den?

>> every night there is something to do. almost too much to do if you're retired.

>> reporter: they're part of a growing number of older adults who are redefining retirement, but moving to college communities.

>> university towns often become retirement towns, because lots of culture, lots of athletics, lots of fun things to do.

>> reporter: that's exactly why the seaberts moved from illinois. for a chance to stay active, volunteer, and keep learning. colleges are paying attention. by 2020 , nearly 54 million americans will be over 65. so literally, hundreds of colleges are offering discounted and even free to youician to those older students.

>> how are you?

>> i'm fine.

>> reporter: pomona college in southern california is one of them.

>> the seniors and their questions and reactions to the class material can model a different approach to the material, and therefore really deepen what -- deepens what happens in class. the war of the spanish succession --

>> reporter: and for the seniors themselves, research shows lifelong learning can improve their health.

>> an active involvement of the brain. that can also be really important for slowing down and decreasing the chances of something like dementia or cognitive decline.

>> reporter: and back at ole miss , retired navy captain david dike summarizes what may be the biggest draw for seniors.

>> then we'll break out the wine and cheese.

>> reporter: college makes him feel young again.

>> quite frankly, i wouldn't look forward to a situation where i'm sitting around with a bunch of folks my age comparing which pills we're all taking.

>> it was published in 2007 .

>> that's it.

>> reporter: comparing notes instead. and heading off to class, not into the sunset.

>> well, lots of great stuff.

>> reporter: chris jansing , nbc news, new york.

>>> by the way, there's a lot more information on all of this on the entire series. it is on our website effective tonight. we are