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/CityCollege or University 


AuburnAuburn University
TuscaloosaUniversity of Alabama


FlagstaffNorthern Arizona University
TempeArizona State University


FayettevilleUniversity of Arkansas


ArcataHumboldt State University
BerkeleyUniversity of California – Berkeley
ChicoCalifornia State University, Chico
DavisUniversity of California, Davis
La JollaUniversity of California at San Diego
San Luis ObispoCalifornia Polytechnic State University
Santa CruzUniversity of California at Santa Cruz


AlamosaAdams State College
BoulderUniversity of Colorado – Boulder
DurangoFort Lewis College
Fort CollinsColorado State University
Grand JunctionMesa State College
GreeleyUniversity of Northern Colorado


New HavenYale University
 Southern Connecticut State University
 Albertus Magnus College


GainesvilleUniversity of Florida
TallahasseeFlorida State University
 Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University


AthensUniversity of Georgia
StatesboroGeorgia Southern University


Boise, IdahoBoise State University
MoscowUniversity of Idaho


UrbanaUniversity of Illinois


BloomingtonIndiana University


AmesIowa State University
Iowa CityUniversity of Iowa


HaysFort Hays State University
LawrenceUniversity of Kansas
ManhattanKansas State University


Lexington, KentuckyUniversity of Kentucky


NatchitochesNorthwestern State University
 Louisiana Scholars’ College


BrunswickBowdoin College
PortlandUniversity of Southern Maine


SalisburySalisbury University


AmherstAmherst College
 University of Massachusetts
 Hampshire College
NorthamptonSmith College
South HadleyMount Holyoke College
WilliamstownWilliams College


Ann ArborUniversity of Michigan
 Concordia University Ann Arbor


HattiesburgUniversity of Southern Mississippi
OxfordUniversity of Mississippi
StarkvilleMississippi State University


ColumbiaUniversity of Missouri – Columbia
 Stephens College
 Columbia College
RollaUniversity of Missouri – Rolla


BozemanMontana State University
MissoulaUniversity of Montana

New Hampshire

HanoverDartmouth College

New Jersey

PrincetonPrinceton University

New Mexico

Las CrucesNew Mexico State University
Las VegasNew Mexico Highlands University

New York

BinghamtonBinghampton University
IthacaCornell University
 Ithaca College
New PaltzState University of New York at New Paltz
OneontaState University of New York College at Oneonta
 Hartwick College
Stony BrookStone Brook University
 State University of New York

North Carolina

AshevilleUniversity of North Carolina – Asheville
BooneAppalachian State University
Chapel HillUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
DavidsonDavidson College
DurhamDuke University
 North Carolina Central University
GreenvilleEast Carolina University
RaleighNorth Carolina State University

North Dakota

BismarkUniversity of Mary


NormanUniversity of Oklahoma


AshlandSouthern Oregon University
CorvallisOregon State University
EugeneUniversity of Oregon
La GrandeEastern Oregon University
SalemWillamette University


State CollegePennsylvania State University

South Carolina

AikenUniversity of South Carolina at Aiken
CharlestonCollege of Charleston
 Charleston Southern University
 University of South Carolina
ClemsonClemson University
ColumbiaUniversity of South Carolina at  Columbia
 Benedict College
 Columbia College
ConwayCoastal Carolina University

South Dakota

BrookingsSouth Dakota State University


MurfreesboroMiddle Tennessee State University


AustinUniversity of Texas
NacogdochesStephen F. Austin State University
San MarcosTexas State University


Cedar CitySouthern Utah University
Provo CityBrigham Young University
OremUtah Valley State College
St. GeorgeDixie University


BurlingtonUniversity of Vermont
 Burlington College
 Champlain College
MiddleburyMiddlebury College


CharlottesvilleUniversity of Virginia
HarrisonburgJames Madison University
 Eastern Mennonite University
WilliamsburgCollege of William and Mary


BellinghamWestern Washington University
EllensburgCentral Washington University
PullmanWashington State University

West Virginia

MorgantownWest Virginia University


MadisonUniversity of Wisconsin
 Edgewood College
MenomonieUniversity of Wisconsin – Stout