Great College Towns for Retirement

Across the nation an increasing number of people are retiring to college towns. The atmosphere of college towns is extremely attractive to retirees. You get a little bit of everything in a college town — cultural activities, athletic events, educational opportunities, and excellent medical facilities — which make them perfect places to retire. It’s no wonder that they are becoming some of the most popular retirement destinations.

Great college towns have a spark that comes not only from young blood, but from jazz clubs, literary events, musical performances, theater arts, book stores and cafes. They are intellectual, cultural and economic hubs, balancing tradition with new business growth. Often they mix urban amenities and small-town charm.

The campuses in small and medium-size towns and cities have become magnets for their surrounding communities for culture as well as commerce. And as our population has aged, increasing focus has been given to including retirees in the enjoyment of culture. Communities have started to realize that the senior of today — a more active, curious and affluent group than ever before — have potential to aid their communities by their experiences, their energies, and their willingness to participate.

Most of the colleges and universities listed below offer educational opportunities for adults. In some cases seniors may audit courses but frequently there are limits on the number of people that can enroll in a class and there are other rules that may limit class participation.

With the proliferation of senior housing options, it is likely that the area will have an active adult community, a continuing care retirement community, or an assisted living facility. To find one, check our Directory of Great Places to Retire, talk to a local Realtor, or look in the local Yellow Pages.

Listed below are 99 great college towns for retirement — with links to their municipal Web site and the local college or university Web site.

State/City College or University 


Auburn Auburn University
Tuscaloosa University of Alabama


Flagstaff Northern Arizona University
Tempe Arizona State University


Fayetteville University of Arkansas


Arcata Humboldt State University
Berkeley University of California – Berkeley
Chico California State University, Chico
Davis University of California, Davis
La Jolla University of California at San Diego
San Luis Obispo California Polytechnic State University
Santa Cruz University of California at Santa Cruz


Alamosa Adams State College
Boulder University of Colorado – Boulder
Durango Fort Lewis College
Fort Collins Colorado State University
Grand Junction Mesa State College
Greeley University of Northern Colorado


New Haven Yale University
Southern Connecticut State University
Albertus Magnus College


Gainesville University of Florida
Tallahassee Florida State University
Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University


Athens University of Georgia
Statesboro Georgia Southern University


Boise, Idaho Boise State University
Moscow University of Idaho


Urbana University of Illinois
Bloomington Indiana University


Ames Iowa State University
Iowa City University of Iowa


Hays Fort Hays State University
Lawrence University of Kansas
Manhattan Kansas State University


Lexington, Kentucky University of Kentucky


Natchitoches Northwestern State University
Louisiana Scholars’ College


Brunswick Bowdoin College
Portland University of Southern Maine


Salisbury Salisbury University


Amherst Amherst College
University of Massachusetts
Hampshire College
Northampton Smith College
South Hadley Mount Holyoke College
Williamstown Williams College


Ann Arbor University of Michigan
Concordia University Ann Arbor


Hattiesburg University of Southern Mississippi
Oxford University of Mississippi
Starkville Mississippi State University


Columbia University of Missouri – Columbia
Stephens College
Columbia College
Rolla University of Missouri – Rolla


Bozeman Montana State University
Missoula University of Montana
New Hampshire
Hanover Dartmouth College

New Jersey

Princeton Princeton University

New Mexico

Las Cruces New Mexico State University
Las Vegas New Mexico Highlands University

New York

Binghamton Binghampton University
Ithaca Cornell University
Ithaca College
New Paltz State University of New York at New Paltz
Oneonta State University of New York College at Oneonta
Hartwick College
Stony Brook Stone Brook University
State University of New York

North Carolina

Asheville University of North Carolina – Asheville
Boone Appalachian State University
Chapel Hill University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Davidson Davidson College
Durham Duke University
North Carolina Central University
Greenville East Carolina University
Raleigh North Carolina State University

North Dakota

Bismark University of Mary


Norman University of Oklahoma


Ashland Southern Oregon University
Corvallis Oregon State University
Eugene University of Oregon
La Grande Eastern Oregon University
Salem Willamette University


State College Pennsylvania State University

South Carolina

Aiken University of South Carolina at Aiken
Charleston College of Charleston
Charleston Southern University
University of South Carolina
Clemson Clemson University
Columbia University of South Carolinaat Columbia
Benedict College
Columbia College
Conway Coastal Carolina University

South Dakota

Brookings South Dakota State University


Murfreesboro Middle Tennessee State University


Austin University of Texas
Nacogdoches Stephen F. Austin State University
San Marcos Texas State University


Cedar City Southern Utah University
Provo City Brigham Young University
Orem Utah Valley State College
St. George Dixie University


Burlington University of Vermont
Burlington College
Champlain College
Middlebury Middlebury College


Charlottesville University of Virginia
Harrisonburg James Madison University
Eastern Mennonite University
Williamsburg College of William and Mary


Bellingham Western Washington University
Ellensburg Central Washington University
Pullman Washington State University

West Virginia

Morgantown West Virginia University


Madison University of Wisconsin
Edgewood College
Menomonie University of Wisconsin – Stout