new senior class: Boomers on campus
'University-linked retirement communities'
unite seniors, colleges
Citing a University of Michigan study, Tsao says many
residents "were motivated by the fact that college- and university-linked
retirement communities promote an active intergenerational community.
"They not only enjoy more social involvement,
new friendships and higher morale by interacting with residents
of their own age, but also have more opportunities to contribute
to younger generations."
Though a few communities were founded in the postwar
years, Tsao says the phenomenon took hold in the early 1980s. At
that time, some pioneering schools began to develop them to create
a supportive intellectual and cultural environment for retired faculty,
staff, alumni and other older adults.
The movement took hold. "During the 1990s and
the early 2000s, a number of collegiate retirement communities were
developed across the country," he says.
The initiatives come from several directions.
In some cases, Tsao says, groups affiliated with a
particular school start communities through partnerships with private
developers. They're looking for an adult learning and living environment
linked to the academic world.
Sometimes the initiative comes from school administrators
who have an eye on the bottom line. "Colleges and universities are always seeking
ways to effectively develop their property and to expand and diversify
sources of revenue," Tsao says. Collegiate communities contribute to this goal
by boosting land values and generating revenues from the sale or
lease of land and facilities.
"They also provide the potential for income from
membership fees," he says, "as well as gifts, donations
and bequests from residents."
Developers -- recognizing the potential benefits of
association with big-name colleges and universities and eyeing a
ready market of alumni and retired faculty and staff -- are also
getting in on the act, Tsao says. Typically they form joint ventures
with universities to develop retirement communities on or near a
The Kendal Corp., a nonprofit provider of communities
and services for older adults based in Pennsylvania, has been building
retirement communities on or near campuses for about 35 years.
"At first they were not exclusively college-related,"
says John Diffey, Kendal president. "But those in the Philadelphia
area, for example, naturally drew retirees who had links to Swarthmore
By the late 1980s, Diffey says, Kendal
began building collegiate retirement communities in conjunction with such institutions as Dartmouth,
Oberlin College, Cornell, Ithaca College, Washington and Lee University and others.
The models vary depending on the market, says David
Jones, Kendal's project director. Kendal typically operates continuing-care
communities, charging a one-time, refundable entry fee and an ongoing
For example, residents in Kendal at Hanover -- a 15-year-old
community in Hanover, N.H., with links to Dartmouth College -- pay
entry fees of $107,492 to $393,646, plus monthly fees ranging from
$2,038 to $4,778. In Kendal at Lexington in Lexington, Va., which
is linked to Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University, costs are a bit lower. Entry fees there start at just
under $97,000, while monthly fees can be as low as $1,800.