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Does your OLLI allow non-members to take OLLI courses at a higher course fee?

Posted on September 28th, 2011 by Anne Cardale, OLLI National Resource Center

Connie Hodgson, OLLI at University of North Dakota, Asks OLLI:

Does your OLLI allow non-members to take OLLI courses at a higher course fee? If so, what percentage of them become members?  Has it proven to be a positive revenue generator?

9 Responses to “Does your OLLI allow non-members to take OLLI courses at a higher course fee?”


  1. We like the idea! We often will let a potential member a class to take one on us then the next time they have to buy a membership. This has worked as well for us.

  2. #2 by: Joan Gillis

    OLLI at Granite State College (NH) started offering a few courses at a non-member rate this term (Fall 2011) as a test. We chose classes that had ample room or were not likely to be filled immediately by OLLI members. Every class offered to non-members cost $20 more than an OLLI member would pay. (Our membership fee is $40.) So far, we have had two takers. It remains to be seen if they will ultimately join. We did have a few others who called and ended up joining instead of paying the non-member fee. Unfortunately, we did not think to keep track of those, but it was not a huge number.

    Joan Gillis - Program Coordinator - OLLI at GSC


  3. I tried to sell that idea here recently but our board nixed it. Like Granite State, I proposed that we offer a few courses (specifically, our computer training courses) to non-members at a higher rate.

    My rationale was: we have met our membership targets and we have a number of folks who only wish to one of our computer training courses. Why potentially inflate our membership numbers with those who have a low commitment to the organization? I also hoped that it would help us fill our computer training classes, which run hot and cold sometimes.

    Thanks for posting the question. I’ll be interested in learning if anyone has found significant benefit to doing this.
    The board’s rationale was that we have had a number of folks join to take just one class and became a valued member and volunteer as a result. There was also some feeling that “OLLI classes are for OLLI members.” Our membership fee is $30.

    In very specific situations where we are partnering with a membership organization AND using their meeting space, we sometimes waive the OLLI membership requirement for the partner organization’s members. Of course, we don’t count those as members, and we do this in lieu of paying for the meeting space! Those non-members pay the member price.


  4. OLLI at UNM doesn’t do a higher course fee. We’ve offered special promotions for our partners. For instance, a lecture on human trafficking in October for Albuquerque International Association members, members of the YMCA and other partners is only the tuition cost. We don’t require a membership. We’ve done this with courses where there was general interest too - on hearing loss and care giving issues. For our member’s only events, we allow people with cards identifying them as partner members in without an Osher membership. Nine out of 10 times, a participant will realize there are SO many wonderful benefits to Osher, they have to register… and bring their friends.


  5. We do not have a higher fee for non-members for our “regular” courses,as all those taking courses must be members. We do, however, offer a series of workshops where non-members do pay a higher fee than members. We recently re-structured our workshop committee, so I’m not up-to-date on whether it is lucrative or not, but so far, it certainly is “paying its way”.


  6. We do not currently offer enrichment opportunities to non-members. We are in a growth spirt and are experiencing some challenges providing seats to members who wish to participate in courses and out of classroom learning experiences.

    We have a sister program called LEARN Jacksonville which offers enrichment courses evenings and Saturdays so folks have lots of nonmember options within our division.


  7. Yes, non-members generally pay twice the cost of non-members for our classes and $20 more for our day trips. Since our membership is $60 annually, if they take two or more classes it’s always better to become a member.


  8. Instead of offering a non-member OLLI price, we dont require people to be members to participate in our Summer Term. It was a great test drive of OLLI as the term is only 4 weeks long. The majority of people who take classes during the summer term who were not already OLLI members ended up joining in the Fall. Works well for us!


  9. Currently at SOU, the only time we offer classes to non members is when someone is visiting in Ashland. A guest can attend a limited number of classes while they are in Ashland. Currently, we have a husband and wife who are visiting their son who lives in this area. They have attended some of our classes and have generously provided OLLI at SOU with a check at the end of their stay.

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