Senior student audits class, enjoys free courses


Non-traditional student John Hinze, is a senior well into his 80’s. Here he enjoys a cup of coffee after one of his classes, Anthropology 200 Human Evolution.


John Hinze, a retiree from the Racine area, has been auditing classes here at UW-Parkside since 1997. Auditing a class refers to a student taking a course without it counting toward a degree or credit hours.

Auditing a class is free of charge for students who fit the criteria of being a Wisconsin resident, 60 years of age or over and/or if they are receiving social security disability benefits.

Students who fit into the free audit criteria receive a chance to take courses to broaden their knowledge free of charge.

John Hinze relishes in this chance saying, “I am now 83 years old and believe these classes have really enriched my retirement years.”

Growing knowledge after retirement

John worked in the insurance industry after graduating from UW-Madison in 1956 with a degree in economics and history.

Following a successful career in insurance, John happily retired in June of 1996 and began auditing classes in the fall of 1997.

For the first four years John audited classes at UW-Parkside, he actually had to pay for the courses, a fee which has since been removed by legislature. John has been returning to UW-Parkside for the last 22 years because “it’s fun” and he believes it has added a lot to his retirement years.

Course highlights

Over these 22 years, John has audited 76 courses with his latest audit being Human Evolution, an anthropology course taught by Dr. Bob Sasso. Some of John’s favorite courses have been those closest to his interests, including 9 history courses given by Professor Laura Gellot, who retired in 2012. John has also enjoyed taking courses in political science and economics and hopes to continue as long as possible.

Spreading the word

John is also on the board of directors for an organization called Adventures in Lifelong Learning (ALL). ALL is an organization dedicated to broadening the knowledge of senior citizens by offering lectures, classes, day trips and many more activities for the community.

Along with working on ALL, John hopes to bring more awareness to the opportunities available through auditing courses. Just as he has enjoyed and enriched his retirement years, he hopes to share the chance with his peers.

Through this opportunity, John has gained knowledge, friendships, and new perspectives that have helped him enrich his retirement years.

To audit a course, if you fit the criteria, visit UW-Parkside’s website and search the keyword “audit” to find the application needed to attend the course.

John hopes that his journey and experience will inspire more of his peers to take advantage of the opportunity that he has and hopes to continue to for as long as possible.


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