Retirement communities with university ties

Retirement » Senior Living »Retirement Communities With University Ties

Seniors living near universities
Retirement communities with university ties © Photo courtesy of Lasell Village

While some retirees may wish to settle in a retirement community where they can play bridge or golf with their peers, others may desire a bit more excitement. Among the fastest-growing options for retirement are communities with ties to colleges and universities, giving residents access to campus activities, from classes to concerts.

"Current retirees are very focused on active, intellectually stimulating and intergenerational retirement environments, which is exactly what a college campus has to offer," says assistant professor Andrew Carle, executive-in-residence and founding director of the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University, who is known for having defined an operational model for university-based retirement communities.

Although senior housing, along with the rest of the real estate market, suffered some setbacks during the recession, he says, "I do think these will be among the fastest new developments moving forward. I have experienced a clear increase in inquiries on this model."

While older communities tended to adopt the Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC, model, Carle says that now the field is more varied. "I think both advanced wellness programming and technology will allow more seniors to remain within independent living longer," he says, "followed by a shorter stay in assisted living and perhaps little to no stay within a skilled nursing facility."

Following are 10 retirement communities around the country whose residents enjoy the benefits of a college or university relationship.

The Forest at Duke

The Forest at Duke © Photo courtesy of The Forest at Duke
  • Location: Durham, North Carolina, 2 miles from Duke University
  • Type of facility: Not-for-profit CCRC
  • Accommodations: Apartments, cottages, single-family homes
  • Cost:
    • Entry fee $88,000 to $322,000
    • Monthly service fee $2,600 to $4,400

The idea for The Forest began more than 20 years ago when Duke faculty members and neighbors collaborated to create the 47-acre retirement community. Its on-site Health Center is directed by the Geriatric Department of Duke Medical Center. Residents have the option to participate in medical studies and trials.

The Forest's modified contract greatly reduces the costs of future on-site health care.

Residents may volunteer at Duke Hospitals, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the Nasher Museum, the Rare Book Room, Ronald McDonald House, the Caring House and other sites on the Duke campus.

The Forest offers monthly on-site classes, arts and wellness activities. In addition, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke offers more than 100 free courses every semester, with a number of those held on The Forest's own campus.

Forest residents benefit from the educational, arts and cultural environment and opportunities not only at Duke, but also at nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University, both within 10 miles of the Forest community.

Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame

Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame © Photo courtesy of Holy Cross Village
  • Location: Notre Dame, Indiana, on Holy Cross College campus
  • Type of facility: CCRC
  • Accommodations: Villas and apartments
  • Cost:
    • Entry fee $122,900 to $400,000
    • Monthly service fee $2,100 to $3,800

Residents may audit courses at Holy Cross College, with which the Village has a direct affiliation, and get a student ID card, which allows access to the library and other campus facilities. The University of Notre Dame, adjacent to Holy Cross College, invites Village residents to swim, use its library and attend cultural events. Many residents act as docents at the Snite museum there, or as tour guides at the Basilica of Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus.

Kendal at Hanover

Kendal at Hanover © Photo courtesy of Kendal at Hanover
  • Location:Hanover, New Hampshire, 2.5 miles north of Dartmouth College
  • Type of facility: Not-for-profit CCRC
  • Accommodations: Apartments
  • Cost:
    • $142,600 to $533,000
    • Monthly service fee $2,700 to $6,400

The Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth, or ILEAD, was created by Dartmouth with the participation of Kendal residents. About half the resident population supports the ILEAD program as sponsors, participants or instructors.

The on-site Resident Care Clinic, staffed by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, provides geriatric primary care to residents throughout the independent community. The clinic staff also provides a continuum of care for residents in the health center.

The clinic serves as an educational setting for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center students and residents.

Kendal at Ithaca

Photo courtesy of Kendal at Ithaca
  • Location:Ithaca, New York, 2 miles from Cornell University and 6 miles from Ithaca College
  • Type of facility: Not-for-profit CCRC
  • Accommodations: Cottages and apartments
  • Cost:
    • $152,885 to $529,265
    • Monthly service fee $2,960 to $6,990

Kendal at Ithaca was developed with the support of Cornell University, from which it purchased the land. Ithaca College also supported development and maintains an ongoing relationship. Faculty members from both institutions speak at Kendal programs and serve on the board and various committees. Kendal residents may attend courses at both schools. Events on the campuses, especially concerts and theatrical performances, are popular. Residents may also use the Cornell libraries and volunteer at the Cornell Arboretum and Lab of Ornithology.

Kendal at Oberlin

Photo courtesy of Kendal at Oberlin
  • Location: Oberlin, Ohio, 1 mile from Oberlin College
  • Type of facility: Not-for-profit CCRC
  • Accommodations: Cottages and apartments
  • Cost:
    • $92,000 to $488,500
    • Monthly service fee $2,591 to $6,420

Oberlin College provided seed money and facilitated the acquisition of land for Kendal at Oberlin, and has significant involvement with its residents. The community also has ties with Akron University, Baldwin Wallace College, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Lorain County Community College, Bowling Green University, The Ohio State University, Ohio University, Youngstown State University, Ashland University School of Nursing and Ursuline College.

The Academy for Lifelong Learning, which is sponsored by Lorain County Community College and is also affiliated with Oberlin College and the Elderhostel Institute Network, plans and offers field trips and numerous noncredit college-level courses, many of them taught by retired faculty members from the two colleges. The Oberlin College library and other campus facilities and amenities are open to residents.

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music offers free concerts performed by faculty and students, as well as moderately priced performances. Free shuttle service is provided by Kendal to transport residents to such events. Students from Oberlin College also perform at Kendal at Oberlin.

Lasell Village at Lasell College

Photo courtesy of Lasell Village
  • Location: Newton, Massachusetts, on the Lasell College campus
  • Type of facility: Independent living with a continuum of care
  • Accommodations: Apartments
  • Cost:
    • Entry fee $300,000 to $900,000
    • Monthly fee $3,300 to $7,800

Continuing education is a requirement at Lasell Village; members must complete 450 hours of learning and fitness activity each year as a condition of residency. These need not be in the classroom. Mentoring students or campus organizations, engaging in community service, education travel, independent study, continued employment and many other options are acceptable alternatives. Village residents also participate in entertainment and cultural activities on campus.

Longhorn Village

Photo courtesy of Longhorn Village
  • Location: Austin, Texas, 30 miles west of the University of Texas at Austin
  • Type of facility: CCRC
  • Accommodations: Apartments and villas
  • Cost:
    • Entry fee $320,000 to $1,180,000
    • Monthly service fee $2,824 to $5,533

Longhorn Village was developed by the Texas Exes, the University of Texas' alumni association, and residents share all of that organization's benefits, including use of the library; discounts on social events, such as the popular Texas Exes tailgate parties before home games; and travel with the Flying Longhorns, from day trips to attend away games to three-week overseas jaunts. Lectures are conducted in the Village, and residents may also audit classes at the university.

Oak Hammock at the University of Florida

Oak Hammock at the University of Florida
  • Location: Gainesville, Florida, 136 acres adjacent to the University of Florida campus
  • Type of facility: CCRC
  • Accommodations: Villas, club homes and apartments
  • Cost:
    • For standard plan, entry fee $99,300 to $505,300
    • Monthly service fee $2,231 to $6,613

Oak Hammock residents get a UF ID card called a Gator One card that provides access or discounts to campus food service, sporting events and cultural events.

The Institute for Learning in Retirement, founded in 2003 by Oak Hammock and UF and affiliated with Exploritas, offers eight-week classes taught by UF professors.

Oak Hammock at the University of Florida, managed by Praxeis, has a master affiliation agreement with the University of Florida. The community's Wellness Center is run by the university's College of Medicine; the 22,000 square-foot Fitness Center is staffed by UF's College of Health and Human Performance; the College of Dentistry operates an on-site dental suite; the College of Veterinary Medicine runs an on-site veterinary clinic whose services include pet-sitting. Residents may participate in research projects and medical trials. Transportation is provided at no cost to campus, shopping, cultural and sporting events, as well as to any medical appointment.

Rivers Run

Photo courtesy of Rivers Run
  • Location: Rochester, New York, 1.5 miles from the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Type of facility: Independent and enriched living
  • Accommodations: Cottages for sale and apartments for lease
  • Cost:
    • Cottages start at $249,000 plus a $260 monthly service fee
    • Apartment leases start at $2,350 a month.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at RIT offers courses in many fields, including arts, literature, sciences, history and government. Residents may also audit RIT courses if space is available, take wellness classes in the fitness studio and participate in social programs.

Rivers Run is licensed as an enriched living community, providing a level of care that includes managed medications, three meals daily, personalized care, grooming and dressing, an emergency response bracelet and more while allowing residents to stay in independent apartments for as long as possible.

The Village at Penn State

Photo credit: Greg Wilson
  • Location: State College, Pennsylvania, 1 mile from Pennsylvania State University
  • Type of facility: Not-for-profit CCRC
  • Accommodations: Cottages and apartments
  • Cost:
    • Entry fee, $164,000 to $690,000
    • Monthly service fee starts at $2,100

Residents get a Penn State ID card that provides access to the library, tennis courts, a swimming venue and discounted membership to fitness facilities. Tickets are set aside for sports events, and special passes to golf courses are available. Penn State's Go 60 Program offers free for-credit courses, subject to availability; residents may also audit classes. Free lectures and courses are offered at the Penn State Center for Healthy Aging. Volunteer opportunities can be found at the Childcare Center on campus.


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