Auditing Courses at Lehman: A ‘Smart Value’ for Senior Citizens

All classes are open for auditing by senior citizens, as long as they have not reached their maximum enrollment.

It didn’t take Lorraine Coyle Koppell long to realize that returning to college after all these years was a great idea. Mrs. Koppell, a trust and estates lawyer with her own practice on Park Avenue and in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, took advantage of Lehman College’s Encore program that allows senior citizens—at a remarkably reduced fee—to “audit” courses. Last semester, she audited a Shakespeare class at Lehman with Professor Michael Cotto of the English Department.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “You read about Shakespeare, you go to see productions of his plays, and then you take a course with a first-rate professor like Professor Cotto who just engages the class, and then Shakespeare comes alive in the twenty-first century.” She continued, “I can’t tell you how exciting this has been. I loved it. It has been the most enjoyable class that I’ve taken in my life.”

In the course, she said, they read some of the Bard’s greatest works, including Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth. “I’ve taken a lot of classes in my life, but I’ve never been to one which captivated the students so completely. So many of the students were so smart and knowledgeable. It was a lot of fun.”

Auditing a class allows senior citizens — 60 and over — to participate by reading the texts and engaging in class discussions; they are not required to complete any assignments or take any exams. Any class that is still open is permissible for auditing. The fee is $80 per semester. If a course involves lab or studio work, auditors must pay for material.

During the fall semester, about 60 students audited classes at Lehman. For more information, visit and click on “Schedule of Classes” to see which classes will be offered in the spring. Then fill out the online form available at and bring a printed copy of the form, along with your driver’s license, to the Admissions Office in Shuster Hall 161 before the first day of class. Once approved, senior citizens can then register from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2. Classes begin on Friday, Jan. 27.

“There aren’t many good reasons to want to be a senior citizen,” Mrs. Koppell said, “but auditing classes at Lehman is one of them. I am considering physics next because as little as I realize now I knew about Shakespeare, I know less about physics.”