FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?

California businessman Bernard Osher created the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco in 1977, focusing on education and health care. The foundation collaborates with university programs nationwide to offer intellectually stimulating, affordable, non-credit learning opportunities in community settings. The Bernard Osher Foundation has set up Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs at over 120 universities and colleges.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute – OLLI - at Humboldt State University College of eLearning & Extended Education, is an innovative program of specially designed short courses with no exams or grades, and a focus on learners who are 50 or over. Membership entitles a person to help choose the topics for classes while also receiving HSU student privileges and benefits.

  • What do you mean by membership? What are the benefits?

OLLI members become part of a learning community where they get to actively choose the types of classes they want, attend special events designed just for them and have the option of proposing to teach a class in which they have special academic or professional expertise.

OLLI membership entitles you to:

  • May I sign up for OLLI online?

Yes, you may use the online registration form. You may also download and print out the registration form (PDF), use the registration from the OLLI brochure or HSU College of eLearning & Extended Education course bulletin, attach payment and send or fax to us (with credit card information). Call the College of eLearning & Extended Education at (707) 826-5880 if you have any problems with your registration. (PDFs require Adobe Reader or equivalent)

  • May I join if I am almost 50?

Our policy is that you must turn 50 within the year you would be taking classes. Or if you are the spouse or partner of someone who is 50, you may join with them as a supplemental member for a discounted fee.

  • Can people who aren’t members take classes?

Anyone may register for an OLLI class; however, as of spring 2012, nonmembers must pay $25 additional fee per class. Up until the week before the course begins, nonmembers may be dropped from the course if space is limited and members wish to enroll. OLLI members have first priority registration for courses.

  • What kinds of classes are offered?

OLLI classes change each semester, but fall into these categories: arts, humanities and social sciences; science and technology; politics and current affairs; and personal enrichment. See Courses for the latest list.

  • Where are classes held?

Most classes are held at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 921 Waterfront Drive in Eureka. This beautiful building is on the waterfront and has free parking.

Some classes are held in other community venues or studios.

Some classes involve field trips. To participate in a field trip course, you are required to complete a Release of Liability form. See more information about field trips and required form.

  • I heard there might be scholarships available to members.
    How can I get one?

A limited number of partial scholarships for classes are available to OLLI at HSU members. Scholarships are not available for OLLI memberships. All community members with current OLLI memberships are welcome to apply for financial assistance with course fees. Awards are based on financial need. To apply for a scholarship, you must submit the OLLI Scholarship Request Form.

Download the OLLI Scholarship Request Form, and send it to:
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at HSU
Attention: Sheila Rocker Heppe
College of eLearning & Extended Education
1 Harpst St.
Arcata, CA 95521

For more information, contact the Sheila Rocker Heppe, OLLI Director, for more information: 707-826-3743 or

  • How is OLLI different from the Over 60 Program
    at Humboldt State University?

In the Over 60 Program, participants are over 60 years of age and take regular, semester academic classes at HSU for credit, taught by HSU faculty. The Humboldt State University Office of the Registrar coordinates the Over 60 Program.

In OLLI:

  • Members are 50 years or older (their spouses/partners may also join as a supplementary member)
  • Members choose classes matching their intellectual interests and life experience
  • Classes are taught by current or retired faculty and community members sharing their expertise
  • No grades are given
  • Classes are approximately 4-8 weeks long
  • May be held on campus and in community locations.
  • Annual membership has a modest fee ($35/year) and provides the OLLI discount on all individual class fees for the entire year, plus HSU student privileges

  • If I’m already in the Over 60 program – does that mean I’m automatically in the OLLI program too? Or that I get a discount on OLLI classes?

While anyone may be in both programs at the same time – they are separate and require different registration processes. The funding for them comes from different sources, so no discounts are available.

  • When does OLLI membership start and how much does it cost?

Membership costs $35 annually per person; $25 supplemental fee for a second person.

Membership includes the OLLI discount on all classes offered plus many other benefits.

Membership is open now and runs from August 1 through July 31 of each year.

  • When do classes start?

OLLI classes start just after the HSU semester begins for fall and spring. Keep an eye on this website to see what's happening during the summer. You can also ask to be on the mailing list to receive the OLLI at HSU newsletter. OLLI at HSU also announces news on its Facebook page.

  • Who are the instructors? How do I become an instructor?

OLLI instructors are experts from the community and current or retired faculty. If you are interested in becoming an OLLI instructor, contact the HSU OLLI coordinator at (707) 826-3743 or learn more about submitting a proposal.

  • What are other ways I can get involved in OLLI?

There are several ways to volunteer for OLLI. Join the OLLI advisory committee or the OLLI curriculum committee. You could also become a classroom assistant.

Or maybe you would like to be an OLLI ambassador, by sharing your OLLI experiences with others.

Also, if you have specific skills that could be shared with OLLI, like organizing social events, writing articles or blogs, taking photographs, etc., your talents and skills could be valuable to OLLI.

To discuss your volunteer options, call 826-5880 or e-mail.

See the "participate" page for details and to download the OLLI Volunteer Application (PDF)

Another way to involve yourself in OLLI is to join or start a Special Interest Group. See a list of all the Special Interest Groups.

  • How do I contact OLLI? Who's in charge?

If you have registration or membership questions, call
(707) 826-5880

(Office is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.)

For other questions, concerns or suggestions, e-mail:
Sheila Rocker Heppe, OLLI Director
or call (707) 826-3743

Mailing address:

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
College of eLearning & Extended Education
Humboldt State University
1 Harpst St.
Arcata, CA 95521-8299

FAX: (707) 826-5885

The OLLI website is maintained by the College of eLearning & Extended Education.