Title: Policy implementation and participation response to an education program for the elderly at the University of Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099489/00001
 Material Information
Title: Policy implementation and participation response to an education program for the elderly at the University of Florida
Physical Description: viii, 174 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Knight, Judith G ( Judith Glichowski ), 1947-
Copyright Date: 1984
Subject: Aged -- Education -- Law and legislation -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Aged -- Education -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Foundations of Education thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Foundations of Education -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Judith G. Knight.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1984.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 151-158.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099489
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000468592
oclc - 11618756
notis - ACN3278


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One of the most difficult tasks facing a doctoral student is the

choice of a dissertation topic. It is no small matter to select a

subject that is within one's level of expertise, yet which is enough of

an unknown to retain its fascination during an extended period of re-

search. It must be a topic which is represented in the literature, yet

sufficiently original so the results of the research do not merely

duplicate previous investigations. The underlying wish is that the

result contribute not only to the academic body of knowledge, but also

to the practical benefit of human beings.

As a student of psychological foundations of education, with a

personal and professional commitment to the aged, the general disserta-

tion theme of educating the elderly was decided early on. An article in

the October 19, 1980 issue of the Gainesville Sun, the daily newspaper

serving Gainesville, Florida, sparked the ideas which culminated in the

specific investigations reported herein.

Th article concerned the registration at the University of Florida

of an elderly Florida resident under the provisions of a recently passed

Florida law. The law stipulated that Florida residents over the age of

60 could attend state universities without passing prerequisite

admission tests and without paying fees, on a space available and non-

credit basis. Because the law had just become effective July 1, 1980,

the fall quarter of 1980 presented the first opportunity for such

students to enroll in university classes. It was felt that a study of

the implementation of this new education policy and the response to the

program by the participants during the first year of operation would be

both valuable and interesting.

The graduate student is fortunate who has an understanding commit-

tee, who singly and collectively are capable of maintaining a good

balance between authoritative guidance and allowable tolerance. I never

expect to be able to repay my chair, Dr. Hannelore Wass (or her remark-

able husband, Dr. Harry Sisler) for all she has done for me both aca-

demically and personally over the past several years. I hope that I can

successfully imitate her advisory style with my future students, thus

making them feel equally fortunate.

Dr. Stephen Olejnik has served as research advisor, not only point-

ing out omissions, but also giving practical advice on making this task

less frustrating and the product more interesting.

Dr. Theron Nunez, anthropological advisor, provided not only direc-

tion but insights into understanding anthropological applications.

To my husband, Jim, and children, Susan, Sarah, and Adam, go my

greatest thanks. Their willingness to shoulder more than their share of

family responsibilities during this research has not only made this work

possible but has provided extra motivation when progress lagged.

Without the cooperation of the university administration, the

elderly students, and their professors, I would have had little success

in researching this policy change. For the sincere interest of the

students involved, and the willingness of their professors to fit one

more encounter into their day, I am grateful.


PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..................................... ii
LIST OF TABLES ................................................... vi
ABSTRACT .............. .................................. ........ vii


I INTRODUCTION ................................................. 1
Education for the Elderly ................................... 3
Educational Innovations for the Elderly ..................... 5
The Problem .......... ....................................... 8
Definitions of Terms ............... ......................... 13
Research Questions ...................... .................... 13
Summary .................. .......................... ........ 16

II FURTHER BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY ............................ 18
Introduction ................... ............................. 18
History of the Legislation ... ............................. 18
Literature Review ............................................ 31
Summary ...................... .............................. 50

III METHODOLOGY .................................................. 51
Approach to the Problem ............. ........................ 51
Options for a Methodology ......... ......... ................... 53
Present Research Approach ............. ... .......... ......... 59
Presentation of the Data ................................. ... 69

IV RESULTS: PARTICIPANTS' RESPONSES ........................... 70
Introduction .................. ............................. 70
Administrators .................... .......................... 70
Students ..................................................... 81
Professors ....................... .......................... 105
Summary .......................... ........................... 118

V ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS ...................... .............. 120
Introduction .......................... ....................... 120
Comparative Study ..... .................................... 121
Factors Impeding Effective Policy Implementation ........... 125
Evaluation .................... .............................. 140
Conclusions .................... ............................. 149

BIBLIOGRAPHY ....... ................................................ 151


A STATUTORY DOCUMENTS ............... .... ...................... 160
A.1 Florida Statute 240.209(3)(mn) .......... .................... 160
A.2 Florida Administrative Code ......... ....................... 162

B.1 Elderly Registration Form ...... ............................. 165
B.2 Program Explanation and Instructions ....................... 166

C METHODOLOGY DOCUMENTATION ................................... 168
C.1 Letter to Participants ........ .............................. 168
C.2 Postal Card Enclosure ...................................... 169
C.3 Interview Topics ............................................ 170
C.4 Indecks Card Retrieval Code ......... ....................... 172
C.5 Typical Student Card ....................................... 173

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................. 174


Table Page

1 Types of Contacts with Participants ......... .............. 61
2 Summary of Course Enrollment ............................... 84
3 Data on Course Enrollment, 1980-81 Academic Year ............ 86
4 Academic Areas of Study ..................................... 88

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Judith G. Knight

April, 1984

Chairman: Hannelore Wass

Major Department: Foundations of Education

Passage of an elderly initiated Senate Bill 906 into Florida

Statute 240.209(3)(m), which culminated a two and one-half year quest,

extended the privilege of attending university courses to Florida resi-

dents over 60 years of age on a space-available/nontuition/noncredit

basis. Research was directed to the examination of the first academic

year (1980-81) of implementation of this law at the University of

Florida, Gainesville, Florida, to investigate the policy change process

and the participants' responses. Interview data were obtained from all

25 attending elderly students and 24 of the 25 professors who conducted

the 35 courses of study having elderly enrollees under this program, as

well as certain university administrators having responsibility for the

implementation of the law. Background review of the genesis of the law

is provided to show the degree of continuity between the intent of the

legislators on the one hand and the resultant policy change and appli-

cation for the benefit of the elderly student on the other. A litera-

ture review links this study to previous related research.

The analysis of this policy change, and its effect on the involved

administrators, students, and professors, is revealed through disclosure

of the experiences of the participants. The effect of this policy

change is also related to the intent of the legislators and the experi-

ences of similar elderly students in other areas of the United States.

Although the students clearly did not limit themselves to the observer-

only roles in the arts or humanities as anticipated by the Legislature,

their active participation in academic or technical skills courses was

not generally troublesome to the participating professors. Certain

difficulties in the implementation process were discovered and are




Fifteen years ago gerontologist Andrew Hendrickson wrote, "

any educational agency, public or private, so heavily endowed with

money, buildings, facilities, and staff, as our colleges and univer-

sities are, has a heavy responsibility to assist society in solving its

problems in which education is the key factor" (1968, p. 111). One of

these problems was the general failure of society to provide means for

educating elderly citizens. Many institutions of higher learning, how-

ever, since have begun to offer structured educational opportunities to

the elderly. As of September 1977, 47 states had policies providing for

the education of the elderly at state institutions, either with free or

reduced tuition, or with traditional, unmodified tuition policies

(Chelsvig & Timmermann, 1979). In 1980, Florida enacted similar legis-

lation, but as of this date the states of Alabama and Pennsylvania and

the District of Columbia have not made corresponding provisions for

educational programs for the elderly. These educational opportunities

provided throughout the United States have appeared in several forms,

including senior centers (Ralston, 1981), community college-level pro-

grams tailored to developing such coping skills as small engine repair,

physical fitness, cooking, and financial management (Valdez, 1971;

Edelson, 1978), and university-level programs wherein elderly students

may earn advanced degrees in regular credit courses (Long & Rossing,

1979; Hooper, 1981).

Educators are charged by society with the morally inspired mandate

to share the ideas, values, attitudes, beliefs, and challenges that

energize the social mix of which all of us are a part (Charles & Malian,

1980), without discrimination toward the recipients. Learning, more-

over, is increasingly understood as a lifelong process (Havighurst,

1976, 1980; Hesburgh et al., 1973; Long & Rossing, 1979), and must

include the notion of relearning to keep pace with the technological

advances of society (Charles & Malian, 1980).

Until recent decades, however, the process of formal education in

the United States had been almost strictly limited to the young and

professionally inexperienced, with little concept of relearning or

rehabilitating life skills. Members of the armed forces in World War II

and in subsequent military conflicts, however, successfully invaded the

youth-oriented structure of higher education, beginning in the 1940s, by

taking advantage of the educational provisions in the G.I. Bill. The

general learning environment was thus broadened as the classroom parti-

cipants became more heterogeneous.

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (P.L. 88-452) contains a pro-

vision which for the first time federally mandated adult education. The

educational legislation contained within the Economic Opportunity Act

was separately designated in 1966 as the Adult Education Act (P.L.

89-750), and has been amended and reauthorized several times in succeed-

ing years (in 1970 by P.L. 91-230, in 1974 by P.L. 93-380, and in 1978

by P.L. 95-561). The purposes of the Adult Education Act are to enable

adults to gain basic and necessary skills to continue formal education

if they so desire, and to secure training which would enable them to be

more employable, productive, and responsible citizens (P.L. 89-750).

Education for the Elderly

The newest group to participate in higher education in the United

States is the elderly, who have been called "pioneers" in a fundamental

social reform (Covey, 1983). Research has suggested that not only are

the needs of the elderly served by such opportunities, but that age-

integrated classroom situations have several broader benefits (Covey,

1982; Kay et al., 1983) and may have a long-term beneficial effect on

society in the form of reduced alienation and isolation (Woodruff &

Birren, 1975; Edelson, 1978; Kay et al., 1983).

The most consequential educational needs of the elderly may lie in

retraining for normal, daily functions in present contexts vastly

different from those of their younger years, for which they are

unprepared. Rapid change is an essential characteristic of contemporary

United States culture, and it is profitable for all components of

society to have the formal opportunity to equip themselves with the

skills necessary for existence in a complex technological and social

environment (Schaie, 1975). A combination of economic, social and

political factors have thus served to open up United States college and

university campuses to the educationally motivated elderly. More than

large universities, junior and community colleges have acted in large

measure to address the educational needs of the elderly, even though

this has not been their primary commitment.

A large segment of the elderly population of the United States has

retired at an age in which they still lead vigorous and healthy lives,

and in which they may look forward to another 20 to 30 years of life

(Hendrickson, 1968, p. 122). Increased longevity and early retirement

provide elderly citizens with the necessary time to pursue formal educa-


But providing a formal program of opportunities requires an invest-

ment, and one that must be justified in light of the fact that the

investment is to be expended upon members of society who are no longer

economically productive. Precisely how, then, is formalized education

for the elderly to be justified? Jahns (1980), in a recent publication

of the Florida Council on Aging, addresses this subject.

More frequently heard and more widely held [than criti-
cisms] are positive views on the value of education for older
adults. These tend to fall into two generalized categories.
One category is more philosophical. The other more pragmatic.
The first would profess that education is a democratic right,
good in and of itself regardless of the intent of the partici-
pant or the provider. The second view, more pragmatic, would
hold that education is a means to the accomplishment of a
desired end, it has a purpose, it can do something. The pre-
paration of youth for a future productive role in society, and
the preparation of young adults for the job market are common
instances of this pragmatic view. Education is a means toward
a desired end. (p. 3)

Other complementary opinions stress the value of education for the

elderly as recreation (Verwoerdt, 1981), as therapy (Jahns, 1980), as

preparation for success experiences in the normal aging process (Butler,

1975), or as a coping mechanism to assist the elderly in participating

in a rapidly changing society (Stone, 1978).

As Jahns (1980) further remarks,

. education can be viewed as a growth oriented, positive
enterprise. In this view, the purpose of education is not
just a focus on rehabilitative, remedial, coping or current
living needs. [It is] to live the present day to the fullest,
to prepare in anticipation of tomorrow's situations, and to
maintain some control over their individual and collective
destiny. Learning that leads to enhanced self-dignity, inde-
pendence, social contribution and personal growth has impor-
tance far beyond the solving of a single problem encountered
in daily living. (p. 4)

An additional point should be made regarding the genesis of the

perceived need for educational programs for the elderly. As may be sur-

mised from a literature review on the subject (see Chapter II), a large

body of data regarding various aspects of the aging process has been

accumulating over the past few decades. As these data emerge and are

increasingly employed in the planning stages of educational programs for

the elderly, such programs will better reflect the special needs of

elderly students (Wasserman, 1976). Gerontological institutes and cen-

ters have been created on university campuses across the nation to pro-

mote research and publication on the aging process. Because of the

continuing growth of interest in gerontology, and its perceived impor-

tance to contemporary society, academic links have been made between

studies of aging and traditional educational fields. These links have

resulted in the creation of such curricula as those devoted to the

anthropology of aging, the sociology of aging, the psychology of aging,

and the nutrition/pharmacology of aging.

Thus, an awareness of the impact of aging and the aged on all

segments of United States culture, as explored in various dimensions by

recent research, has made apparent the need for continuing and expanding

educational programs, not only about the aged, but also for the aged.

As the aged population increases in proportion to the remainder of

society (Cutler & Harootyan, 1975), its influence will also increase.

Continuing research into the aging process by social and behavioral

scientists further enhances and strengthens the development of educa-

tional programs to meet the needs of the elderly population.

Educational Innovations for the Elderly

Political pressure brought to bear by masses of elderly voters and

volunteers has stimulated, in some measure, the legal manipulations

which are required to finance education for the elderly. Universities,

seeking not only to provide necessary services, but also to maintain and

augment their position as culture brokers (Rist, 1979), and to serve as

instruments to facilitate social change (Willenberg, 1976) have made in

recent years a strong move towards broadening the educational options

for elderly citizens. This move includes such innovations as the

Elderhostel, and state sponsored elderly education programs such as that

passed into law in Florida in 1980.

Since its inception in 1975, Elderhostel programs (Knowlton, 1977)

have grown to provide week-long college coursework for over 90,000

elderly individuals, on over 800 campuses in the United States, Canada

and several European countries. Senior citizens participate in tradi-

tionally structured courses, the more enthusiastic ones occasionally

travelling from state to state, or even country to country, to avail

themselves of these opportunities. Financial arrangements and curricula

vary, with some universities establishing courses specifically for the

elderly, and others simply providing an opportunity for the elderly to

enroll in their normal summer term curricula.

A second type of educational innovation consists of a variety of

state sponsored elderly education programs, of which the recent Florida

Statute 240.209(3)(m) is a typical example. Under provisions of Florida

Statute 240.209(3)(m), senior citizens of Florida are permitted to

attend state universities on a noncredit, nontuition, space-available

basis. At the time of the passage of this law, similar laws permitting

elderly attendance at the university level had been enacted in 19 states

and were permitted by acclamation in 8 additional states. Florida's

elderly education law was enacted as an amendment to Florida Statute

240.209 in 1980. The following is a brief introduction to the amend-

ment, whose translation into policy change at the University of Florida

is the focus of this study. The passage of the legislation will be

reviewed in more detail in Chapter II, in order to clarify its specific


An elderly advocacy group, called the Silver-Haired Legislature,

was formed in Florida in 1978 to lobby for issues of concern to the

senior citizen population (Matura, 1981). This special interest group

has as its purpose to propose legislation to the Florida State Legisla-

ture that would benefit the elderly, which it formulates by holding mock

legislative sessions. In 1978, during the first session of the Silver-

Haired Legislature, a bill was proposed which would provide university

level educational opportunities to the elderly citizens of Florida under

specific conditions (Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative

Services, 1978). This bill, however, did not pass the Florida Legisla-

ture in 1978. It was resubmitted in 1979 (Florida Department of Health

and Rehabilitative Services, 1979) and was signed into law (Florida

Statute 240.209(3)(m), June 25, 1980).

Several issues were raised by the legislators during hearings on

the passage of the amendment to Florida Statute 240.209, concerning

implementation at the local level and possible abuses which might occur.

The several specific concerns expressed at that time fall into two

categories: financial impact on the State of Florida, and the possible

intellectual drain on professors which might affect the quality of

education received by traditional degree-seeking students. These is-

sues, to be discussed in detail, affected the spirit, the wording, and

the intent of the Florida law.

This dissertation is the result of a study proposed to investigate

the implementation of Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m) at the University of

Florida campus during its first academic year as policy.

The Problem

Policy Implementation

Policy implementation has been defined as the activity that takes

place between the formal enactment of a program by a legislative body

and the achievement of the intended results (Hargrove, 1975). Recently,

a concentrated effort by social scientists to understand "how policies

change as they are translated from administrative guidelines into prac-

tice" (Rein, 1983, p. 113) has concluded that participants in policy

change, charged with translating the letter and spirit of legislation

into practical innovations and adjustments, often arrive at interpreta-

tions and actions which vary considerably from legislative intent. Rein

and Rabinovitz (1978) have defined the basic forces affecting policy

implementation as being "legal," "bureaucratic," and "consensual,"

thereby providing a broad conceptual framework for the study of the

genesis of public programs. A similar conceptual framework, as further

developed by Mazmanian and Sabatier (1981), was initially applied to

federal regulatory programs, but with minor modifications it has been

successfully employed in the study of educational programs as well

(Sabatier & Mazmanian, 1981).

Sabatier and Mazmanian (1981, p. 7) have suggested certain "inde-

pendent variables" for policy change which are the main prerequisite

factors thought to influence the outcome of a policy innovation. These

are as follows: (1) the tractability (ease of solution) of the problem,

(2) the capability of a statute to structure changes that will solve the

problem, and (3) "nonstatutory variables," such as the cooperation of

such outside forces as the media and advisory personnel in supporting

the policy change. These researchers also suggest five "dependent

variables" (1981, p. 7), actually stages of implementation, which are as

follows: (1) the "policy outputs" of the implementing agencies (meaning

new procedures and regulations), (2) compliance with policy outputs by

"target groups" (the subjects affected), (3) "actual impacts" (objective

results) of the policy outputs, (4) "perceived impacts" of the policy

outputs (subjective judgements by the affected subject groups), and (5)

major revision in the statute.

Statement of the Problem

Adapting this overjargonized but useful framework to the present

study, the applicable "independent variables" could be specified as

follows. The "tractability" of the problem, the "problem" being, of

course, the well-established need for university level educational

programs for elderly citizens of the state of Florida, was influenced by

several factors or conditions. First, and quite importantly, there were

numerous precedents in other states that had already proven workable.

Several of the initiators of the Florida legislation were clearly fami-

liar with these precedents, which could then serve at least tacitly as a

model or a pattern from which to construct a program suited to Florida's

needs. The existence of successful precedents in other states certainly

served to dissolve doubts about practicalities at the level of the State

Legislature, and probably contributed greatly to the passage of the

bill. Sabatier and Mazmanian (1981, pp. 8-9) also point out that a

problem is generally more "tractable" from the standpoint of policy

change, the less diverse is the target group, the smaller that group is

in proportion to the total population, and the more easily definable the

target group is. On these criteria, the target population, consisting

of Florida's elderly, obviously present little difficulty. Finally,

Sabatier and Mazmanian (1981, pp. 9-10) suggest that policy change

becomes more difficult to the extent that behavioral changes required of

the target group are more radical. In this case the behavioral changes

required of the university administrations and university professors

proved modest, despite some initial concerns of the legislators, and the

changes among the elderly themselves were entirely elective in nature,

rather than being required. In sum, the need for a Florida elderly

education statute was a problem which, according to this framework, had

a large measure of "inherent tractability," and thus initially a good

chance for success.

The second of the "independent variables" constituting Sabatier and

Mazmanian's analytical framework is the "extent to which the statute

coherently structures implementation" (1981, p. 10). In this respect

the statute, as will be seen, was quite noncommittal in specifying

precisely how the new program was to be carried out. Beyond merely

instructing the state Board of Regents to "establish rules" regarding

the waiver of fees for elderly students, and specifying certain other

very general restrictions on enrollment, Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m)

importantly did not structure its own implementation. The Board of

Regents, in turn, as will be further explained in Chapter II, estab-

lished a bare minimum of regulations for accountability and none at all

regarding procedures for the day-to-day conduct of the program. In

light of this analytical framework, then, such failures to specify

implementation procedures at the outset might have been expected to

detract significantly from the success of the policy change. And, in

fact, this study will describe a prevalence of highly variable inter-

pretations and even ignorance of the statute and its regulations at the

levels of implementation and participation, having a definite effect

upon the conduct of the new program at the University of Florida.

The third and final group of prerequisite factors affecting policy

implementation are those which Sabatier and Mazmanian (1981, pp. 15-20)

refer to as "nonstatutory variables." This is more or less a catch-all

category of important conditions which are basically external to the

legislative process, and yet upon which the success of a new policy may

often depend. Such factors in the present case include the existence of

an influential lobbying group, the Silver-Haired Legislature, which

originally suggested and supported the passage of Florida Statute

240.209(3)(m). Another such factor is the level and nature of media

publicity regarding the innovation, which in this case was meager for

the University of Florida area. The level of personal commitment of the

implementing individuals is yet another important "nonstatutory" factor.

Documentation presented in Chapter IV of this study will suggest the

effect of the varied levels of interest among administrators and parti-

cipating professors upon the new program at the University of Florida.

Nearly all of these conditions had been set prior to the initiation

of this research, and therefore their effect upon the subsequent aspects

of the policy implementation were already to some degree predetermined.

The methodology employed in this study therefore basically serves to

document what Sabatier and Mazmanian would consider the "dependent

variables," or the stages of implementation in the process of policy


The methodology used here, however, treats processes and events as

more than merely "variables" in the usual sense of the term. That

methodology will be treated in detail in Chapter III, while the actual

stages of policy implementation, considered under a framework similar to

Sabatier and Mazmanian's "dependent variables," will be discussed in

Chapter V.

Significance of the Study

As stated, this study examines certain features of a nontuition,

noncredit program for elderly education established by state law at the

university level. Similar legislation has been enacted in 48 states,

although specific participation criteria have varied from state to

state. A number of researchers, for example, McClusky (1973), Wasserman

(1976), and Kingston (1982a), have investigated programs similar to that

enacted in Florida, focusing on such aspects of these programs as educa-

tional needs of the elderly, barriers to education, subject interest,

and previous educational experience. Despite this, such studies are

mostly quite recent, and comparative data regarding these facets of

elderly education under similar conditions are meager. This study,

while investigating corresponding phenomena, albeit from a slightly

different perspective, should be of value in supplementing and enlarging

the comparative basis for practical discussion of elderly education


A significant difference in the present research design, however,

is examination of an elderly education program through the perspective

of the theory of policy change. This theoretical focus allows us to

attend to the chronological aspects of the program from initiation

through completion of the first academic year, thereby examining the

factors impeding effective policy implementation. The timing of this

study was therefore considered important in order to observe aspects of

the program's formative stages prior to routinization and bureaucratic

entrenchment. These formative stages of the implementation process

bridge the gap between plan and reality, and their study sheds consider-

able light on both. Before proceeding further it is necessary to set

forth a small number of special definitions or usages of terms as they

are employed in this work.

Definitions of Terms

Policy change, or implementation, here refers specifically to the

modification of existing procedures to accommodate the registration of

Florida citizens 60 years of age or older at the University of Florida,

herein termed elderly students. Traditional students are those degree-

seeking enrollees progressing through academic coursework toward the

goal of graduation. Accountability is defined as the formal process of

verifying local compliance and for monitoring policy change. Program

participants are defined as those administrators, elderly students, and

professors actively involved in the educational program for the elderly

during the first academic year of implementation.

Research Questions

With regard to the foregoing considerations, research questions

were developed which would help to trace out the initial procedures,

thoughts, actions, and attitudes of each of three categories of partici-

pants: the University of Florida administrators, the elderly students,

and their professors. These were framed in such a way that most of the

data could be gathered by a standardized open-ended interview method-

ology (see Chapter III), and in such a way that the results of these

interviews could be generalized wherever possible. The following is a

list of the major sorts of questions initially raised, from which inter-

view formats were developed and modified.


A number of research questions were developed with regard to the

university administration. At what level of the administrative hier-

archy was the responsibility assumed? What was done at the administra-

tive level to implement the policy change? What was the nature of the

procedures introduced to implement the policy change? To what degree

did the introduced procedures correspond to existing bureaucratic struc-

ture, and to what extent were they innovative in response to the speci-

fic needs of the new student population? What accountability procedures

for the new program were implemented? Did this accountability at the

administrative level include any form of qualitative program evaluation?

How was the new program publicized at the University level? With what

degree of commitment or interest did the administration react? After

the first year, in what respects did the administrators feel that the

new program had changed the nature or quality of education at the

University of Florida?


A similar body of research questions was developed with regard to

the elderly student participants. What would be the extent of the

elderly's information pertaining to the law prior to registration? How

would the elderly students have learned of the program? What would be

the general nature of the elderly student response to the new program?

What was the age and sex profile of the enrollees? Would the enrollment

be in line with that expected by the Legislature? Would the enrollment

be in line with that expected by the administrators? What would be the

types and academic level of courses in which the University of Florida

elderly students enrolled? What motivations would be reported by the

elderly students for enrolling in a class? What would be the range in

educational background of the elderly students? What would be the

intended use of the information to be gained? Would these intended

goals be reached? What learning aids would the elderly employ during

enrollment? What would be the level of reported elder-traditional

student interaction? What would be the level of class participation

reported by the elderly students? What problems would the elderly

students report concerning their enrollment? What would be the elderly

students' attitudes toward future enrollment? How would the elderly

students describe their professors? How would the elderly evaluate

their educational experience, and would these evaluations be generally

consistent or highly variable? What recommendations would the elderly

students have for future program implementation?


Finally, research questions were developed in order to understand

the role of the faculty in this policy change. What would be the extent

of the professors' knowledge of the new program prior to the enrollment

of elderly students in their classes? What was the general nature of

the participating professors' response to the new program? Would they

modify their classroom procedures because of the attendance of elderly

students? What problems would they report as significant in having

elderly students in their classroom? What level of elderly stu-

dent participation in coursework would be perceived by the professors?

What administrative and departmental support would be reported by the

professors of elderly students? Would they welcome future elderly

enrollees? Would the professors recommend any changes in the policy as


This long series of research questions thus formed the basis of the

present research. The data gathered in light of these topics allow an

analysis of the discrepancies between the program as initially conceived

and the program as experienced by the participants at all levels, during

the first academic year. This analysis will be of value in adding to

the meager literature concerning educational programs provided by state

law for the elderly, conducted at the university level on a noncredit/

nontuition basis. Moreover, it will be of particular significance in

providing a well-documented case study of the formative stages of policy

implementation for the elderly, from the Legislature to operation at the

local level, and the problems that attend it.


Academic institutions have accepted the responsibility of providing

educational opportunities to the elderly and often are doing so through

revisions of their state laws. Gerontologists have shown that educa-

tional needs exist among the elderly population and that meeting these

needs benefits both the elderly and traditional students by providing a

forum for interaction within the classroom. In 1980, passage of Florida

Statute 240.209(3)(m) permitted the State of Florida to open university

system classrooms to elderly citizens on a noncredit, nontuition, space

available basis. A series of research questions was developed to ascer-

tain the experiences of the administrators, students, and professors who

participated in the first academic year of this program. The devel-

opmental stages of this policy implementation, based upon a conceptual


framework for policy change created by Sabatier and Mazmanian (1981),

are revealed through the responses of these participants, providing the

subject matter of this dissertation.




It is necessary to present two kinds of further background informa-

tion prior to discussing the study and its results. This chapter will

therefore have two parts. The first part details the history of the

Legislation which prompted the policy change for education for the

elderly at Florida universities. Although the details of this history

were revealed during the research (see Chapter III), and might be there-

fore considered results instead of background, it is important to in-

clude them at this early point in the text, because this history more

fully reveals the intentions, motivations, and concerns which lie behind

the concise statute which gave rise to the program under study. The

second part of this chapter consists of a review of the literature

related to specific issues raised by the research topics outlined in

Chapter I.

History of the Legislation

The creation of any law requires a degree of cooperation and com-

promise between diverse groups, which is essential for the passage of

even apparently noncontroversial legislation. The following discussion

traces the history of Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m) from its inception,

through legislative committee hearings, to the establishment of local

university level guidelines for implementation as policy.

The Silver-Haired Legislature

Political activism is prevalent among the elderly population in the

United States. It has been attributed to increased leisure time with

which to explore and participate in political issues at the local,

state, and national levels (Butler, 1975).

Because the State of Florida has a large elderly population (as of

1980 21.4 percent of the total population is aged 60 or over [Bureau of

the Census, 1983]), it is not unusual that the level of participation by

the elderly in politics is equally prominent, and also that it has a

noticeable effect on state and local political activities. A special

interest group called the Silver-Haired Legislature was formed in

Florida in 1978 to funnel these political interests into creative chan-

nels and to enlist elderly participation from throughout the state in an

organized and effective manner.

The composition of the Silver-Haired Legislature deliberately

mirrors that of the Florida State Legislature, from the election of

representatives from all districts in the state to the use of office

facilities and staff at the Capitol during Silver-Haired Legislature

sessions (Matura, 1981).

The original intent of the Silver-Haired Legislature was to organ-

ize and mobilize the elderly into active participation in the creation

of legislative policies affecting the senior citizens of Florida

(Matura, 1981). Usually in May, the elected Silver-Haired "representa-

tives" and "senators" are provided with a packet of background informa-

tion acquainting them with legislative procedures. They have approxi-

mately one month to submit proposals for legislation, based upon needs

expressed by the elderly in their district. Proposals are submitted to

professional staff in the Capitol who process them into proper format

and legislative language.

Following the close of the regular legislative session, usually in

July, the Silver-Haired Legislature convenes for a rigorous four-day

session filled with committee meetings and hearings on the proposed

legislation. Bills reported favorably out of committee are voted on by

the Silver-Haired Legislature House and Senate, and those which pass are

referred to the Silver-Haired Legislature Executive Committee for ac-

tion. Approximately 10 bills annually are recommended to the members of

the Florida State Legislature, and sponsors are sought to introduce

these bills during the next legislative session. Once these bills are

recommended to the Legislature, the work of the Silver-Haired Legisla-

ture is completed, except for volunteer lobbying activities for these

bills that members might wish to perform during the regular session.

Silver-Haired Legislature elections were first held in 1978.

Because of time and equipment constraints imposed by the general elec-

tions, however, no such elections were held for 1979, and the 1978

members were asked to serve a second term without benefit of election.

Some new individuals were appointed to fill certain vacancies which

appeared because of deaths and personal reasons. Elections were held

for 1980 and 1981.

During the first Silver-Haired Legislature session in 1978, a

Senate bill proposing university educational opportunities for Florida

residents aged 60 and over was recommended through the Executive Com-

mittee to the State Legislature, but did not receive sufficient commit-

tee support for action. This bill was again proposed by the 1979

Silver-Hairs, through the House Education Committee, and was recommended

to the Senate. The two bills were combined under the original Senate

designation from the 1978 session. The Senate reported the bill favor-

ably, and when presented to the joint sessions it passed the final vote,

and was then recommended to the Executive Committee. It was listed as a

priority item by this committee and was presented to the State Legisla-

ture in a call for sponsorship.

The Florida Legislature

By the opening of the 1980 legislative session, numerous sponsors

in both the House and Senate had been found for the bill. Similar bills

were acted upon in both the House and Senate higher education commit-

tees. The following information on the committee hearing discussions is

taken directly from tape recordings made of these sessions by committee

staff as part of their regular procedure of legislative documentation.

The progression of this particular piece of legislation from introduc-

tion through passage is depicted on the following page.

House Bill (H.B.) 226. On March 23, 1980, the House Committee on

Higher Education spent approximately 20 minutes discussing proposed

educational legislation for the upcoming session, designated as

H.B. 226. The chair recognized Representative Helen Gordon Davis, who

later also introduced the bill before the Senate committee. Because the

two introductions were virtually identical, that presented to the House

of Representatives is reproduced here in its entirety.

Representative Burnsted [Chairman]: .. Mrs. Davis, you're
recognized on the bill.
Mrs. Davis: Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen of the commit-
tee. . [This bill] allows tuition-free courses, with no
credit, at the university system for people over 60. It
allows tuition-free courses with credit at the pleasure of the
Board of Trustees of any community college. The cost of oper-
ating this program is negligible. The rewards to older
Americans in Florida of such a program would be great when
measured in terms of potential for life enrichment. We put
down the age of 60 to concur with the Older Americans Act
which has 60 in it [as the age limit]. It also concurs . .
with the age of retirement of a lot of people who do not have

Progression Chart of Proposed Legislation from Inception through Passage

Silver-Haired Legislature proposes, recommends, and searches for State
Legislature sponsors for the university level educational opportunity
for the elderly of Florida

Senate Higher Education committee House Higher Education committee
takes no action on Silver-Haired no sponsor found.
Legislature Bill No. CS/3537.
Bill "dies in committee."

Silver-Haired Legislature proposes, recommends and searches for State
Legislature sponsors for the university level educational opportunity
for the elderly of Florida, known as CS/28.

Senate Higher Education committee House Higher Education committee is
is introduced to S.B. 902 April introduced to H.B. 226 March 23,
24, 1980. Vote passes in commit- 1980. Vote passes in committee;
tee; bill sent to Ways and Means. bill to Appropriations.

Senate Ways and Means committee House Appropriations committee
determines "no impact" when an reference withdrawn when bill is
evaluation shows fiscal involve- combined with S.B 902.
ment to be less than $200,000.00
annually. Sent to Senate on May
20, 1980.

Senate votes in favor 29 to 0 on House votes in favor 96 to 0 on June
June 3, 1980. Sent to House. ---- 6, 1980 and returns bill to Senate.

Senate orders bill enrolled, and
signed by Senate officers on June
7, 1980. Bill sent to Governor.

Governor signs into Law on June 25, 1980
with an effective date of July 1, 1980

the funds to go on . to pay for the tuition. I do want to
tell you that 19 states have adopted legislation of this same
kind [and] that eight states do this additionally without
specific legislation. Three of the 19 do not allow credit;
all the others give credit.
I will close by telling the committee that this is
the priority bill for the Silver-Haired Legislature [and] that
the Board of Regents [of the University Systems of Florida]
approves of it, the United Faculty of Florida, the Florida
Council on Aging, the Florida Student Association specifically
loves it, the Florida Retired Teachers Association, the
Florida AFL-CIO and the Florida Council of Churches have asked
that you vote on this.

Representative Bell began the subsequent discussion with a request

for clarification of the supposed negligible cost of the proposed legis-

lation. While no figures were cited, Mrs. Davis answered that of all

reporting states, Ohio had the greatest success with a current registra-

tion of 323 elderly people. She reported that even if as many as 600

elderly individuals enrolled in the nine universities affected by this

bill, the administration and the Board of Regents still felt that the

cost would be negligible.

Representative Bell challenged this assertion by pointing out that

since previous legislation had mandated job related tuition-free courses

for state employees, that,

. what has happened now at FSU because of the demand [is
that] they are having to offer some courses that have no pay-
ing students in them at all. . I guarantee you that there
is a cost associated with it, and I think we are kidding our-
selves if we don't recognize that.

Representative Davis, however, was quick to point out that the two

situations were quite different. In the Florida State University

matter, it was nonelderly faculty and staff who were permitted to take

tuition-free credit courses, enabling them to perform their tasks more

skillfully. Representative Davis explained that the legislation permit-

ting the educational opportunity at Florida State University was entire-

ly different from H.B. 226, which was to be strictly for the elderly and

would not permit credit to be earned. Representative Davis attempted to

clarify the expected actions of the elderly audit students.

[These are] . people that will register five days after
registration is closed, on a space-available basis. They sit
in the back of the room. They don't take tests. They don't
bother anybody.

Representative Morgan then asked if some member of the university

system present could step forward and explain the procedures of the

audit system on university campuses. The reply was that to audit a

course in the university system a student must complete a one-step

one-form registration procedure, which permits enrollment on a space-

available basis. The student pays full tuition and/or laboratory fees,

but receives no academic credit. The audit classification system is

normally seen as a useful method for low-stress learning of particularly

difficult material or as a refresher opportunity for previously com-

pleted coursework.

Representative Morgan responded that as he understood the bill, as

explained by Representative Davis both in prehearing discussions and

during this committee session, it would provide for nothing beyond the

monitoring of lectures by the elderly. However, he was unsure that the

bill, as written, limited elderly participation to this base level, and

was concerned that any activity beyond this level would produce expense.

Representative Bell spoke in support of Morgan's concern over the pro-

gram's costs and said that he knew of "situations in the university

system where courses were offered only to nonpaying students."

The subject of program cost was discussed from another perspective

by Representative Bell.

I have an acquaintance who is a professor and [who is]
teaching a course at a university in this state. It is a
seminar course, and it should have five or six students in it.

It has 20 students in it. Only five or six are paying. Now,
I submit to you that the paying student is paying a price be-
cause of the time that is taken up with all these nonpaying

In further statements Bell stressed that he was not opposing the bill,

and that he assumed it would pass. His only concern was that the com-

mittee members not delude themselves, or their constituents, into

believing that this program was cost-free. In his opinion someone would

always pay, either monetarily, or in quantity or quality of professorial

attention. Another committee member supported this view.

The costs are there from the registration standpoint.
And also there is cost involved from the loss of income [to
the state], in addition to just having the extra people in the
classroom, who the teacher or instructor is going to have to
spend a certain amount of time with. . That time is being
taken away from the students who are paying their own way.

At this point the discussion digressed into the subject of the sup-

posed psychological investment made by the professor in each student,

and the consequent drain that this might engender upon individual pro-

fessors. Some committee members suggested that the mere physical pre-

sence of additional students represented some increased work for the

professor even in the absence of direct verbal or written interaction.

In defense of the legislation, however, Representative Lippman was

adamant on the quibblings about cost.

I can't imagine that we could [fail to] invest . such
a small sum of money in our educational system to bring [el-
derly] people and [put] them into classes, and allow them to
interplay with . young studentss, and [to] enrich their
lives as well as [the elderly] being enriched. And I think
that it would be a [good] investment for the State of Florida
to vote this bill [into law].

Representative Woodruff added,

The small [amount] that this bill might cost the state in
extra [instructional] copies for [handouts] . and the
little additional time it might take the professor to talk
about something, or the few extra crayons it might take in an

art class, I think is a very, very small price to pay for the
additional increase in self-worth that these people are going
to get, [a] worth that they are going to give back to the
community in additional experience. . And I think that if
nothing else we owe these people some degree, some small part,
of life back that they have given to us, in the many years
they have served the state . in their various professions
and occupations. And I think that it is a very cheap price to
pay for enriching their lives.

In response to a question regarding the types of courses the elder-

ly citizens would be expected to take while registered under this educa-

tional program, Dr. Chandler, a representative of the university system,

replied, "Our survey in Ohio and certain other states shows that these

people take basically art, history, literature, and that type of enrich-

ment course." No further discussion was held on this point and the

committee members began to formulate the wording for the bill which best

expressed their intent.

Two amendments were offered. Representative Rosen, who was con-

cerned about the elderly students earning credit without paying tuition,

and about the professorial time involved in teaching these nonpaying

students, proposed this wording: "No academic credit shall be awarded

for attendance in classes for which a fee is waived under this para-

graph." In defense of her amendment she explained,

We are trying to meet the needs of older people who are
interested in attending educational institutions for enrich-
ment purposes and for personal purposes that are not career-
related. And these are not purposes for which the awarding of
academic credit is appropriate nor for which a university or
community college instructor should be involved in regis-
tering, processingg, grading, and so on and so forth, which
would indeed drive the cost up.

Despite objections by Representative Davis, this amendment was incorpo-

rated into the bill.

A second amendment was proposed by Representative Woodruff as

follows: "Demand [by] nontuition students shall not be used to

establish new classes or additional space available." Representative

Burnsted, however, pointed out that such an amendment was unnecessary

due to the preexisting requirement of an established minimum number of

tuition paying students for all classes. This amendment was never

offered for a vote.

The final vote on the bill passed. A statement by Representative

Mann closed discussions on this issue.

Madam Chairman, [I have] just a comment, a disclaimer, on
that vote taken. I still have some problems with the appro-
priations and with the fiscal impact, that I need to have
satisfied before this thing comes out of [the] appropriations

Representative Burnsted assured him that since the bill had an appropri-

ations reference number, it would indeed be addressed by that committee

to ascertain if a $200,000 per year fiscal impact would be expected.

Senate Bill (S.B.) 902. Senator Ware, of Tampa, Florida, first

introduced this bill on April 24, 1980 to the Senate Committee on Higher

Education, which he chaired. As with the House Committee, Representa-

tive Helen Gordon Davis introduced the bill using essentially the same

phrasing in the Senate as she did in the House. The Senate committee

discussion lasted only slightly over eight minutes, with only two topics

discussed that had not surfaced in the House hearing. The first con-

cerned the operative definition of "space-available," and the second,

"full-time equivalent" credit for academic departments.

Space-availability in the classroom was one of the main criteria

for elderly attendance under provisions of S.B. 902. A university

representative explained to the committee that there is an established

maximum number of students who can register for each course. This

number, jointly determined by the Registrar and the professor, is based

upon the type of class, how often it is taught, the size of the class-

room, and the wishes of the individual professor. For example, a seminar

for graduate students might be assigned to a small room and perhaps 15

spaces, whereas an undergraduate English class would be assigned to a

lecture hall, and spaces would be available for 150 students. If spaces

remained available in either of these courses after the official close

of registration, then elderly students would be entitled to ask the pro-

fessor's permission to register for the course, and fill the vacancies.

One of the Senators was particularly interested in the nature

of space-availability determinations and the creation of new course

sections. He wondered hypothetically whether a new section would be

established if a course had been set for 25 students, and 26 tuition-

paying students enrolled. The obvious problem would be that of having a

new course section of 25 available spaces with only one paying student

and the remainder available for elderly students attending on a nontui-

tion basis. A university professor present in the audience addressed

this question. His response was that in reality, the actual number of

students to be taught in one section of a course is left to the discre-

tion of the professor, with the approval of the academic department, and

that very few courses ever close out admission. The professor felt,

based upon this policy, that the proposed scenario would never happen,

because the professor would simply permit the twenty-sixth student into

the filled section.

Another Senator wondered,

What do you do in the situation where you have a drop/
add period? Let's say that you have space available [after
registration closes], but then you have a drop/add time, and
. you have more [tuition-paying] students coming in. Do
you tell those elderly that they must remove themselves [in
favor of the late registering students]?

The university professor present again stated that only a very few

courses ever close out and that there is always room for another person

or two in any lecture class. The number of traditional degree-seeking

students enrolling during the drop/add period would never be large

enough to necessitate removing a previously enrolled elderly person.

Representative Davis spoke in support of this observation.

In the 27 states where this has been implemented, and all
of those . do it five days after registration closes, they
have never had an instance . where other students have
wanted to get in and [the policy] precluded any of those
students from getting in.

The committee members were apparently satisfied at this point that the

space availability provision would not constitute a problem.

A second issue discussed in the senate hearing was whether full-

time equivalent credit would be given departments for elderly enrollment

under the provisions of this bill. "Full-Time Equivalent" (FTE) credit

is a sum of money established yearly by the Florida Legislature with

which a school district is remunerated for each 900 hours of instruction

conducted for each student (Florida Administrative Code, 1970). The FTE

amount varies depending upon the type of class and the category of

students in that class. Each academic department receives credit for

the number of students enrolled and, based upon FTE credit figures, may

have its budget subsequently increased or decreased accordingly. It

would not be cost-beneficial to the system to permit nontuition paying

students to be included in FTE calculations, because these students

would not be contributing to the fund supporting the departmental bud-

gets. This subject was discussed and the senators were in complete

agreement that no FTE credit should be allowed under the provisions of

the bill. There being no further questions or discussion the bill was

read once more and was passed in a final senate committee vote.

During May of 1980 the fiscal committees of the Legislature pre-

pared to examine the two bills. At this point, House Bill 226 and

Senate Bill 902 were combined because of their similarity, and were

considered under the Senate notation. Senator Ware, an active proponent

of this legislation, and whose district possessed in 1980 the largest

number of elderly citizens of any in Florida, received credit as the

final sponsor of the bill. Because House Bill 226 was dropped, it never

came before the House Appropriations Committee, despite the fact that

Chairman Burnsted had assured Representative Mann it would.

Referred thus to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for scrutiny,

a "Senate Staff Analysis and Economic Impact Statement" was prepared,

and used to determine whether the legislation warranted more detailed

fiscal analysis. The statement reported as follows.

. during the Fall 1979 quarter, the University system
enrolled 240 students who would have qualified for fee waivers
under this bill. Cost for the academic 1979-80 year, had this
legislation been enacted, is approximately $70,000 [Senate
Staff Analysis and Economic Impact Statement, S.B. 902, May
12, 1980].

The projected fiscal impact therefore being below a $200,000 annual

limit, above which the Ways and Means Committee would have been required

to provide a more thorough review, it was withdrawn from committee on

May 20, 1980, and presented to the Senate.

Final Passage. The final Senate vote passed the bill 29 to zero,

followed by an equally favorable House vote of 96 to zero. Governor

Graham signed the bill into law on June 25, 1980, with an effective date

of July 1, 1980. The bill as passed is reproduced in Appendix A.1.

The Board of Regents

When legislation concerning higher education is enacted, the Board

of Regents becomes the active arm of implementation to effect policy

change at the university level. The Board of Regents is the operative,

governing body responsible for systemwide regulation of the nine

universities in the State of Florida. One of the duties of the Regents

is to affirm new educational legislation and instruct its members to

comply by laying out guidelines and accountability requirements. This

is performed through the publication, in a looseleaf format, of the

Florida Administrative Code, to which supplements are added as necessi-

tated by new legislation.

Passage of Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m) was reported to the Board

of Regents and was published as Chapter 6C-7.12 (1) through (6) in

Supplement No. 124 of the Florida Administrative Code (1980) (see

Appendix A.2). Supplement No. 124 includes interpretation of the legis-

lation for the university system and the Board of Regents' account-

ability requirements. For accountability in this instance, the Board of

Regents simply required the number of elderly students registered under

provisions of this law to be included in the regular quarterly enroll-

ment reports from the nine universities within the system.

With the issuance of Supplement No. 124, active responsibility

passed from the state level to the local university administration and

their staffs.

Literature Review

Traditional institutions of higher education in the United States

have the facilities necessary to provide effective educational instruc-

tion to virtually all segments of the population. In addition, they are

in a position to facilitate learning at all age levels, and may thus

actively contribute to an actualization of the concept of life-span

education (Charles & Malian, 1980). The responsibility to provide this

service has been accepted to date by 48 state university systems in the

United States (Long & Rossing, 1979), by means of a variety of statutory

enactments and regulations adopted to facilitate higher education for

the elderly population. In order to effectively provide this service,

however, a clear understanding of the needs and desires of the potential

recipients ought to be made available to the personnel directly involved

in providing these educational opportunities.

A number of studies have been conducted in recent years in an

attempt to accurately portray elderly students, and their responses to

the establishment of the various educational programs specifically

instituted for them. The most relevant of these to this present re-

search are reviewed in the following section.

Educational Needs of the Elderly

A review of current research on the topic suggests that sufficient

data exist to support a general consensus on the basic educational needs

of the elderly. Although different researchers employ differing cate-

gorizations and terminologies in reference to these basic needs, it is

not difficult to perceive that they are talking about the same things.

The 1971 White House Conference on Aging (McClusky, 1973) categor-

ized these basic educational requirements as coping, expressive, contri-

butive, and influence needs. Two years later, in the Post-White House

Conference on Aging, these needs were differently couched in terms of

two goals, education for personal fulfillment and education to meet the

needs of later life (Post-White House Conference on Aging, 1973). Butler

(1975), discussing the same topic, speaks of several basic needs, in-

cluding education for inner satisfaction, educational instruction for

retirement, post-retirement education, and special training or retrain-

ing of skills.

Havighurst (1976), by defining two broad educational categories

as "instrumental" and "expressive" learning, and by systematically

evaluating the intentions of elderly learners, approaches the analysis

of elderly educational needs from the viewpoint of the student, and

establishes a corresponding general theoretical framework.

"Instrumental education," according to Havighurst, "is education

for a goal that lies outside and beyond the act of education. . .

Instrumental education is thus a kind of investment of time and energy

in the expectation of future gain" (p. 42). In contrast, he defines

expressive education as, ". . education for a goal that lies within

the act of learning, or is so closely related to it that the act of

learning appears to be the goal" (p. 42). Expressive education is seen

to represent an immediate perceived gain, rather than a perceived in-

vestment for the future on the part of the learner. As Havighurst

points out, however, these two categories are not mutually exclusive,

and this needs to be taken into account in research.

Although Havighurst's recommended approach perhaps fails to ade-

quately consider variability in individual learners' perceptions of

educational experiences over time, or as a function of situation, in his

effort to classify these perceptions, he has nevertheless provided a

practical framework for examining elderly educational motivations from

the learner's perspective.


Due to the relatively low percentage of elderly individuals parti-

cipating in the many educational opportunities available to them

(Wasserman, 1976; Chelsvig & Timmermann, 1979), a major thrust of recent

research has been to determine how to promote greater participation.

This subject has been approached most extensively from two perspectives:

(1) barriers to education, and (2) general education subject interest.

Barriers. Barriers to adult (aged 25 and over) education have been

categorized by Ramsey (1980) as situational (lack of time, transporta-

tion problems), institutional (cost, registration, location) and dis-

positional (too old, lack of confidence). These three categories could

be applicable to the barriers commonly described by the elderly, even

though Ramsey (1980) states that because her source included only nine

respondents in the 60+ age group, the results would not be generalizable

to the elderly student population.

According to a study by Graney and Hays (1976), the three most

frequent barriers to taking courses, as listed by the 112 educationally

interested elderly, were lack of information, lack of time, and lack of

money. Of the 295 educationally disinterested elderly, the three most

frequent barriers were disinterest in the courses offered, feeling too

old to learn, and feeling out of place in the classroom. Two possible

problems with the methodology implemented in the study cast doubt on the

validity of certain aspects of Graney and Hays' results. The questions

posed to the elderly respondents were stated in negative terms in such a

manner that they could have been variously interpreted, depending upon

whether the respondents had considered themselves as educationally

interested or educationally disinterested. In addition, respondents

apparently answered affirmatively to as many or as few questions as

desired, or chose to answer none. These perhaps insufficiently con-

trolled and elicited data were then used to determine the level of

significance of the barrier cited by the two groups (interested and

disinterested). In sum, Graney and Hays conclude that the primary

barriers cited by both groups could be satisfactorily eliminated through

increased public information and outreach programs (1976). Although one

might question the significance of their reported barriers cited by

disinterested informants, this general conclusion can hardly be dis-


Kingston (1982b) acknowledges Graney and Hays' barrier data but

rather chooses to focus his research more specifically upon respondents'

reporting of those barriers which are sensory in nature. He suggests

that although an educational institution may have a program for the

elderly, the individual professors, especially those affiliated with

large universities, may never have taught an elderly enrollee and thus

may be unaware of the program, and ignorant of the particular instruc-

tional needs of elderly students. Kingston suggests that participation

therefore may be enhanced if the instructors teaching the elderly keep

in mind the level of study skills required, and certain physical pro-

blems which may serve as barriers to full participation. These might

include the illumination of the classroom, the printing quality of

handouts, and even the selection of textbooks. He also suggests that

the professors should provide learning aids, such as charts and advance

organizers, specifically intended for the elderly student. An assump-

tion evident in Kingston's recommendations is that the faculty welcomes

elderly students into the traditional classroom and is willing to expend

extra effort to insure successful educational experiences for them.

However, as Chelsvig and Timmermann (1979) state,

Unless efforts are made to (1) recruit older persons and wel-
come them to campus, (2) provide them with the academic coun-
seling and orientation as they would younger students, and (3)
work with faculty and administration to anticipate their
needs, the programs often mean no more than filling empty
chairs. (p. 157)

The summary of recommendations of the Post-White House Conference

on Aging (1973) cites convenient locations, flexible hours, and subsi-

dized transportation as appropriate considerations intended to reduce

barriers to the availability and accessibility of educational programs

for the elderly. In support of these recommendations, it has been fre-

quently noted that educational programs conducted at small, dispersed

senior centers are considered more accessible and less threatening to

elderly participants than corresponding programs at community colleges

and university campuses (Hiemstra, 1972, 1976; Graney & Hays, 1976;

Heisel, 1980; Price & Bromert, 1980; Price & Lyon, 1982).

Transportation problems of various sorts are often cited as a

critical barrier to elderly enrollment in educational programs

(Hiemstra, 1972; Covey, 1979; Perkins & Robertson-Tchabo, 1981; Hooper,

1981; Price & Lyon, 1982). In one case, however, where door-to-door

transportation service was offered to the elderly, a 64 percent increase

in enrollment was reported for a university program (Baum, Hooper, &

March, 1977). This transportation service was part of an ombudsman

program that also included registration assistance. Although the en-

rollment figures do not themselves suggest the degree of influence that

might have been exerted by ombudsman registration assistance, or trans-

portation service, the overall increase in elderly enrollment was con-

sidered impressive.

Several studies have examined barriers to education by means of

questioning elderly students regarding their experiences while enrolled.

One such study (Perkins & Robertson-Tchabo, 1981), which examines diffi-

culties encountered during the enrollment of 160 "Golden ID program"

elderly attending classes at the University of Maryland, reveals that 46

percent experienced no difficulties. However, the primary difficulty

encountered was with parking, that being reported by 15 percent of the

elderly students. An overwhelming 96 percent expressed enthusiasm for

the program, rating their experience as excellent or very good, and were

more concerned with increasing publicity for the program than with

parking problems. The three reported sources of program information

were newspapers (60 percent), word-of-mouth (25 percent), and brochures

(20 percent). No explanation was given for the 5 percent overlap.

Kingston's recent study (1982a) of 70 elderly students enrolled in

the university system of Georgia reveals that 23 percent encountered

parking difficulties. However, 48 percent felt that elderly students

should have had special parking privileges, and thus a significant

percentage apparently were concerned with parking problems, even though

they did not cite this as being a significant barrier to enrollment.

Kingston's research also indicates that 70 percent of the elderly stu-

dents in this sample reported no difficulties with the academic material

presented in their coursework, and those who did report such problems

attributed them to sensory impairment. Nineteen of the 29 men and 30 of

the 41 women in Kingston's sample reported no difficulties with the

academic material. However, since Kingston's total sample included 71.4

percent who were enrolled for credit (almost precisely the same number

and proportion of men to women who reported no academic difficulty), it

would have been useful to have reported any correlations evident between


Available literature does not make clear the reasons for a lack of

reported academic difficulties, but studies of the previous educational

experience of elderly enrollees may prove useful in illuminating this

topic. Research concerning previous educational activities of elderly

enrollees (Hiemstra, 1972; Goodrow, 1975; Harris & Associates, 1975;

Hooper, 1981; Kingston, 1982a, 1982b) all shows that previous formal

educational experience is a significant factor in propensities toward

elderly participation in educational programs. The research of Graney

and Hays (1976) reveals a high correlation between prior educational

level and the reported interest in pursuing academic activities among

453 respondents. The level of previous educational attainment was also

determined to be the most significant variable for participation in a

study by Johnstone and Rivera (1965). Havighurst (1976) confirms that

prior formal schooling is more closely related to participation in adult

education than any other socioeconomic factor.

General education/subject interest

A very sizable body of data is available on the possible decline of

intelligence with age (Blum, Jarvick & Clark, 1970; Horn, 1972; Baltes &

Schaie, 1974; Botwinick, 1973), but it is apparent from this research

that there is little evidence for decrement when corrections are made

for slower speed of response and reaction time (Schaie, 1975). What is

self-evident, however, is the obsolescence of the information available

for retrieval by the elderly. Because this obsolescence is reversible

through retraining and educational programming, aging per se should not

be the prime consideration in evaluations of the intellectual abilities

of the elderly student (Schaie & Labouvie-Vief, 1974).

One's perception of one's intelligence and learning ability has

been shown to be highly correlated with internal locus of control, among

a sample of 172 elderly respondents in Price and Lyon's (1982) study of

the educational attitudes of the elderly, although a causal relationship

could not be demonstrated. This research suggests that for the elderly,

the perceived ability to learn is closely related to the feeling of per-

sonal control over the learner's environment. Wasserman (1976) ap-

proaches this subject from the perspective of a social gerontologist,

suggesting that educational experiences of the elderly should therefore

be understood from two perspectives, that of the "producers" as well as

that of the "consumers." The producers are defined as the colleges or

educational institutions and the professors, while the consumers are, of

course, the elderly students. Wasserman's premise is that the subject

of education for the elderly has been seen primarily from the producer's

perspective, which may be biased, which may be leading educators to

false conclusions concerning the educational interests of the elderly,

and which in fact may be contributing to the discouragement of potential

elderly students whose need to feel "in control" is violated by the

persistence of this perspective.

In a study of 166 elderly persons from eastern Michigan, Wasserman

(1976) sought to ascertain the extent of interest in higher education

among the elderly. In so doing, Wasserman investigated the influence of

age as a factor in determining this level of interest. His results

indicated that individuals under 65 had a higher level of interest than

those over 65. Wasserman therefore concludes that because individuals

over 65 may be more immovable in their lifestyles than those who are

younger, they may have little need for continuing education and they

should consequently receive less attention from educators. This con-

clusion, however, seems simplistic and overgeneralized.

Further attempts have been made to examine participation of the el-

derly by identifying specific subjects of interest to elderly enrollees

in various programs. Szalai's (1972) study in the mid-1960s revealed

subject interests in hobbies and recreation, vocational topics, reli-

gion, home and family, general college courses, personal development,

agriculture, and public affairs. DeCrow's (1975) comparable research

found that the most popular subjects of another elderly study population

were hobbies and recreation, consumer education, health related sub-

jects, and home and family life.

Graney and Hays' Subject Area Interest Inventory (1976) provides

the following results: Courses categorized as liberal arts and sciences

(such as English, foreign languages, history, religion, and science)

were found to be of interest among 57 of the 135 respondents, or 42

percent of the study population. Arts and crafts courses, including

music and home repair, were of interest among 44 individuals, or 32

percent of the population. Vocational-technical courses followed with

17 or 13 percent of the elderly students, and business courses were

listed by 8 respondents or 6 percent of the population. Courses fitting

none of these categories were listed by 9 respondents or 7 percent of

the population. It is interesting to note that none of the respondents

in Graney and Hays' study chose courses relating to aging or the aged.

A similar study involving 160 registered elderly Maryland students

(Perkins & Robertson-Tchabo, 1981) reports comparable results. In this

study, 70 percent of the registrations were in the arts and humanities,

14 percent in human and community resources, 9 percent in behavioral and

social sciences, 5 percent in mathematical and physical sciences and

engineering, and 2 percent in agricultural and life sciences. Interest-

ingly, 20 percent of the total registrations reported by this study were

in foreign languages, which were the most popular courses chosen.

Certain conditioning factors, however, may affect the comparability

of the Maryland study to others. The registrations cover the period

from fall 1977 through spring 1979, or possibly five academic (semester)

periods, but the authors do not indicate whether there were elderly

enrolled in every academic period, and if so how many attended each

course. In addition, some of the 160 respondents were taking courses

for credit toward a degree, some for credit but not for a degree, and

some were auditing. Presumably the type of registration would have some

influence upon the coursework chosen, and upon the order and frequency

of course registrations.

Wasserman's (1976) study of 166 respondents produced the following

priority ordering of courses grouped by subject matter. From highest

preference to lowest were hobbies and crafts, humanities, social

sciences, history, language, health and family matters, and science and

business. It is interesting to contrast Wasserman's analysis, which

suggests that there is low interest among the elderly in "instrumental"

courses (1976), against several other studies (Uphaus, 1971; Hiemstra,

1972, 1977-78; Goodrow, 1975; Heisel, 1980; Ralston, 1981), all of which

conclude that the elderly prefer courses offering instrumental learning.

Instrumental learning, in fact, has even been demonstrated as a prefer-

ence among a wide range of educationally disadvantaged elderly

(Hiemstra, 1977-78). Wasserman offers no explanation concerning why his

population's interest deviates from that reported in the other research


A recent report by Long (1980) contains enrollment data from educa-

tional institutions in 21 states having programs for the elderly, which

suggests that the largely stereotypical arts and crafts orientation of

elderly academic interests is inaccurate, and that liberal arts and

business courses are in fact more popular. Similarly, Covey's (1982)

questionnaire survey of 245 elderly respondents indicates that the three

most frequently preferred subject areas are general college topics (such

as history, science, and music), arts and crafts, and health related

subjects. The three less preferred areas of expressed interest were

courses teaching survival or coping skills, religion, or community

program development.

While it may be premature to infer it, it seems noteworthy that

these two most recent studies seem to document what may be a gradual

shift in preference away from arts and recreation oriented coursework

towards more business and science oriented coursework by the elderly.

Reasons for predicting such a shift may indeed be found in analyses by

Birren, Woodruff, and others, concerning the lack of elderly participa-

tion in educational programs. Birren and Woodruff (1973) conclude that

participation should be expected to increase over the years, as the

future cohorts of elderly individuals reaching program age are better

educated and thus more likely to take advantage of academic opportuni-

ties. This conclusion is supported by other research (Harris and

Associates, 1975; Havighurst, 1976; Chelsvig & Timmermann, 1979; Long &

Rossing, 1979; Hooper, 1981; Kingston, 1982a) in which, as previously

stated, educational participation has been positively correlated with

previous levels of education. There may be some relationship, then,

between the increasing level of academic background among the elderly,

and a possible trend toward their increasing preference for business and

science oriented coursework in elderly education programs. This would

seem to be a good topic for future research.

An increasing level of previous academic experience among the

elderly may only partially account for this phenomenon, however. In

this connection Hooper's (1981) research is interesting, because it

suggests that the academic success of friends and relatives of the

elderly affect their inclination to enroll in coursework just as does

the nature of their own academic background. Hooper thus distinguishes

between the effects of prior personal experiences and the influence of

"vicarious" experiences. She recommends as a topic for future research

the investigation of probable relationships between elderly perceptions

of the accessibility of educational institutions to them on the one

hand, and their families' prior record of experience with higher educa-

tion on the other.

Several of the studies just cited support the notion of continuity

theory as applied to elderly education. Continuity theory, which fills

a gap in the theory of adult education (Covey, 1980; Suttle, 1982),

proposes that what a person does or has done successfully, they will

continue to do, if at all possible (Atchley, 1972; Covey, 1983). Self-

efficacy theory (Bandura, 1977), which attempts to account for a per-

son's feeling of competence in stressful or unpredictable situations,

has also been offered as an important addition to adult education theory

because of its predictive power (Rebok & Offerman, 1983). These two

theories appear to be mutually supportive and provide a means of ex-

plaining the correlation between previous educational experience and

elderly participation.

However, there have been as yet no reliable means of anticipating

the increase in the number of elderly participants as the level of

previous formal education of older adults rises (Long & Rossing, 1979).

According to Havighurst (1976) the median number of years of schooling

among those 65 and over has risen from 8.1 in 1950 to 8.7 in 1970, but

it is expected to reach 11.9 by 1990. What effect this will or will not

have on increasingly rigorous academic fields chosen for study by el-

derly students cannot yet be determined. The literature does, however,

provide ample data on learning and memory functions which affect the

success of elderly educational experiences and thus sheds further light

on barriers to elderly education.

Learning and Memory

The subject of the learning and memory abilities of the aged has

been a difficult one for researchers, not only because it is a complex

topic by nature, but also because of conflicting theoretical perspec-

tives (Walsh, 1975). Three main categories of theory in current popu-

larity are not mutually supportive, although each contributes to a

growing body of data on late-life cognitive functions. Current theories

are perhaps best categorized as dealing with (1) stimulus-response

learning; (2) information processing/storage of the learned materials;

and (3), retrieval of this stored memory.

Stimulus-response learning. One of the earliest explanations of

learning and memory was initially formulated by Hermann Ebbinghaus in the

1870s, and is termed stimulus-response associationism (Walsh, 1975).

The length of time required to relearn material previously tested at a

specific criterion level is subtracted from that time required for the

initial mastering of the material. The time saved in relearning to the

criterion level can be used as a measurement of memory. Subsumed under

labels such as "serial anticipation learning," or the more popular

"paired-associate anticipation learning," variations on this method have

provided a wealth of data on memory and learning. Botwinick (1973) has

elegantly shown the link between learning and memory by noting that the

proof of the extent of learning lies in effective memory display.

Although learning is seen as an internal act, while memory is "external"

in the sense that it must always be demonstrated, they are not easily

differentiated. Causative factors affecting both have been defined in

recent research.

Complicated research difficulties exist in determining just how

memory display should be measured, considering the multiplicity of

variables operative during a learning situation. For example, in an

attempt to correct for prior knowledge, Hulicka (1967) administered

tests involving nonsense syllables or numbers to measure memory and

learning in the elderly. She found that the elderly were less motivated

than younger learners to participate in such uninteresting and meaning-

less activities, regardless of the time allotted, and therefore they

performed at even lower levels than would otherwise be expected. Ironi-

cally, overarousal or overmotivation in the elderly, as compared with

younger students, has also been shown to be a significant factor in

learning deficits of the elderly (Eisdorfer, 1968). Measurements which

have been designed for the young adult therefore may not be appropriate

for the older learner, and potentially may be more confusing than clari-

fying in comparative studies (Baltes & Schaie, 1974). However, the

sizable body of data existing on the intelligence, memory, and learning

functions of the young provides a baseline for research into similar

functions among the elderly and may be used effectively, if cautiously,

in studies of elderly learning.

Mullan and German's (1972) work with the retraining of elderly

workers reveals that intellectual inactivity can be a basic factor in

diminished elderly learning abilities. In support, McClusky's (1973)

research indicates that performance is affected not only by health but

by the continued use of skills and abilities, and that measurement of

the intellectual abilities of the elderly may show declines in tasks

involving time and speed, but gains in tasks utilizing experience.

Intellectual performance, as measured by the standard tests given

to youth in school, shows a slow decline from the early 20s to approxi-

mately the mid-50s, after which the decline is more rapid. This decline

represents a loss in speed of response and changes in motivation, rather

than loss of intellectual ability. Sometimes there is a gain over time

in tests measuring verbal reasoning, vocabulary, general information,

experience, and judgement. Adults, like children, may test high in one

area and low in another, and attitudes, motivation, self-concepts, and

responsibilities have at least as much effect as age on learning ability.

Those with high innate intellectual endowment and those who stay men-

tally active and alert show the least decline in mental acuity with age

(Jones, 1979).

Botwinick and Siegler (1980) have made cross-sectional and longi-

tudinal comparisons of 70 participants from the Duke Longitudinal Study

population to determine if there is a significant decrease with age in

intellectual ability, as measured by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence

Scale, using the Full, Verbal, and Performance scores of that scale.

The analyses of all three scores show no significant age differences

with the cross-sectional comparison, but significant longitudinal dif-

ferences. These differences are attributed to the particular charac-

teristics of the subjects. Participants persevering in longitudinal

studies are hardy, able, and motivated, and thus cannot be considered a

random sample of the elderly population. However, these results do show

that adults aged 60 and over tend to maintain their intellectual skills,

or see only marginal decline, at least until the end of their seventh

decade. These researchers postulate that since elderly students aged 60

to 75 can be considered hardy, able, and motivated, their intellectual

abilities would not be expected to decline more than a negligible amount

during their years of educational pursuit at the university level. The

possible role of educational participation by the elderly in maintaining

their intellectual capabilities through time has not been a focus of


Cognitive and noncognitive factors affecting elderly learning

activities and thus memory have been extensively researched (Arenberg,

1965; Eisdorfer, 1965, 1968; Hulicka, 1967; Canestrari 1968; Craik 1971;

Bolton 1978). Mullan and Gorman's (1972) study of retraining the

elderly recommends specific techniques intended to reduce anxiety in the

learning situation, thus producing better memory and learning results.

Among their suggestions are such external reinforcements as increased

time, additional learning sessions, nontraditional methods of examining

progress, utilizing peers and learning aids as feedback methods, and

structuring long-term goal-oriented learning. They also recommend the

more internal and personal services of supportiveness, praise, and

recognition, for the reduction of anxiety. Bolton's (1978) review of

the literature on factors that affect learning reveals a consensus that

these primary cognitive factors are intelligence and aging, and memory

and learning processes. Noncognitive factors identified in Bolton's

review include motivation, loss of speed, health, and education.

Bolton's article concludes with suggestions for minimizing memory defi-

cits by means of the use of cues or hints regarding the information to

be retrieved, by reducing interference, by increasing response time, and

by using advance organizers. In addition, Bolton recommends use of the

discovery method of teaching, reducing anxiety, and limiting evaluations

in order to minimize the negative effect of noncognitive factors on the

elderly learner (1978).

Storage and retrieval. Once learning has been accomplished, by

whatever methods and factor correction techniques thought to apply, the

subject matter of the second and third major learning theories, those

concerning information storage and information retrieval respectively,

may be addressed.

Walsh (1975) views stimulus-response associationism and information

processing theories as clearly incompatible. In simple terms, storage

and information processing concerns activities by the learner in which

the information is processed into categories, or types, of memory

(Botwinick, 1967), maintained or stored for future use (Walsh, 1975),

and retrieved on command (Craik, 1971).

Most memory research divides its subject matter into at least two

and normally four varieties of memory, the first three being,

very short-term memory, which involves a retrieval of
information after a few seconds; short-term memory, which is
retention for a few seconds to several minutes; and long-term
memory, which involves information retained over a period of
minutes to several years. (Bolton, 1978, p. 335)

The fourth category is termed "old memory" and involves the ability to

recall past events after several decades of elapsed time. Given good

health and a stimulating environment, if the learned material is prac-

ticed to an equivalent degree, then the old remember as well as the

young, the only difference being the time of response and the pattern of

information manipulation (Woodruff & Birren, 1975). A category of

memory has also been classified as sensory (Craik & Lockhart, 1972),

which is further subdivided into iconic or visual (Neisser, 1967) and

echoic or auditory (Crowder & Morton, 1969). Sensory memory is that

which occurs without conscious intent, and it is rapidly lost because

there is no mental manipulation of the material and therefore no storage

(Haber & Standing, 1970). When a sensory memory is brought to conscious

thought and rehearsed, it is transferred to short-term memory (Shulman,

1970), where it can be manipulated (processed) and therefore stored.

Storage capacity is the main distinction between short-term and long-

term memory, with the storage capacity of short-term memory limited, and

no known limit for long-term memory (Walsh, 1975). Long-term memory is

coded in terms of meaning rather than simply by sound or sign, and is

less easily forgotten. Research has not indicated a cause and effect

relationship between types of coding on the one hand, and forgetting of

long- or short-term memory on the other. There has been, indeed, some

criticism of the distinction made between short-term and long-term

memory, based primarily on the extent of shared characteristics (Melton,


While data are sparse on the effect of age upon sensory memory,

researchers (Bromley, 1958; Craik, 1968) have failed to demonstrate a

decline with age in short-term memory storage, while in contrast there

is evidence of decline with age in long-term memory storage (Craik,


Memory storage measurements are, of course, dependent upon the rate

of retrieval. Anders, Fozard, and Hillyquist (1972) have conducted

extensive research on this topic, and conclude that while short-term

memory storage may not decline, the rate of its retrieval does decline

with age.

The alternate views of Craik and Lockhart (1972) on the information

processing and retrieval functions of short- and long-term memory focus

upon the perceptual processes of the learner. Their theoretical pro-

position considers the depth of the processing of information, or how

completely new information is integrated with previously learned mate-

rial. This depth of processing in the elderly learner has been deter-

mined to be dependent upon the extent of organization of the information

as it is stored as long-term memory (Mandler, 1967; Hultsch, 1969), and

also upon the meaningfulness of the information to the learner (Walsh &

Jenkins, 1973).


The foregoing chapter has presented certain historical and the-

oretical groundwork for the present study. Politically active elderly

Florida citizens lobbied for the establishment of educational opportuni-

ties for those aged 60 and over within the university system. Florida

Statute 240.209(3)(m), signed into law on June 25, 1980, provided for

university attendance by Florida citizens aged 60 and over on a space

available, noncredit, nontuition basis.

A literature review pertinent to elderly education is included,

addressing the subjects of perceived educational needs, barriers to

educational participation, the types of educational activities chosen by

elderly students, learning and memory functions, and the factors affect-

ing these functions. The literature review has discussed data which may

serve as a basis for comparison for the information gathered here, on

educational experiences at the university level as seen during the first

year of implementation of an educational policy change. The following

chapter describes the methodology employed in data gathering during the

course of this research.



Approach to the Problem

Several studies of topics similar to this one, emphasizing dif-

ferent aspects of elderly learning and utilizing various methodologies,

have been recently published. Seven of the most relevant to this re-

search have been cited in Chapter II. All of these studies have in

common a dependence upon prestructured questionnaires in their research

designs (Graney & Hays, 1976; Wasserman, 1976; Hooper, 1981; Perkins &

Robertson-Tchabo, 1981; Ralston, 1981; Kingston, 1982a; Price & Lyon,

1982). Some of these were conducted exclusively by mail, with no per-

sonal contact with the respondents. In only one case among these

(Perkins & Robertson-Tchabo, 1981) were followup interviews conducted

with a proportion of those returning questionnaires.

As discussed in Chapter II, each of these relevant episodes of re-

search has resulted in important and sometimes provocative results.

However, certain methodological limitations have tempered these results,

the most commonly reported being low rates of response. Reported rates

of nonresponse have ranged from 16 percent (Kingston, 1982a) up to

approximately 50 percent (Wasserman, 1976; Perkins & Robertson-Tchabo,

1981). Low response rates in questionnaire surveys obviously raise

questions about the representativeness of the respondents, even if the

sample size is fairly large. It introduces the possibility of undetect-

able biases among those who took the time to respond. Moreover, lack of

personal contact with respondents to questionnaires increases the possi-

bility that they might misapprehend the meaning or intent of questions,

and that the researchers might fail to anticipate important perceived

issues among the respondents. On the positive side, these drawbacks are

traded for the increased ability of questionnaire surveys to organize,

standardize, and manipulate with greater precision a large and poten-

tially representative body of responses.

The questionnaire survey, then, has been the mainstay of prior re-

search designs concerning elderly education in the United States.

However, prior to conducting the research presented here, it was not

thought prudent on that account to automatically turn to the pre-

structured questionnaire technique.

As outlined in Chapters I and II, the goals of this study differ in

many respects from those which have preceded it. One of these goals is

essentially "historical": to discover and document in some detail the

events or stages in the implementation of a policy during the first year

of an education statute for the elderly. Another goal centers around an

attempt to elicit the attitudes and perceptions of three classes of

participants in the program: administrators, elderly students, and

professors. In this case, not knowing at the outset how the program had

fared during its first year, and not having had any previous contact

with any participant, it was very difficult to predict in advance what

problems might have developed or what issues might have concerned them

most. Therefore it was difficult to think of potential questions which

were not too limiting by nature. In this circumstance of essentially

"exploratory" or inductive investigation, it seemed that the most pro-

ductive kind of question would be an open-ended one, structured, but

allowing for a wide range of potentially unanticipated answers. These

kinds of questions, unfortunately, are not well suited to questionnaire

research. Thus it was apparent from the outset that several options

would have to be explored to find a methodology appropriate to these

goals and appropriate to the study population.

After establishing the general nature of the topics to be investi-

gated (Chapter I), but before considering in detail a research design,

it was discovered from the University of Florida Office of the Registrar

that the total number of participants in the program had been very low

(25 elderly students and 25 professors; see below). This data contri-

buted another factor in choosing an appropriate research design. Name-

ly, it was in the realm of possibility to personally interview every one

of the participants as circumstances permitted, thus avoiding the issue

of nonresponse, if that were desired. All of these considerations

entered into the choice of a methodology, as will be discussed in detail

in this chapter.

Options for a Methodology

Bearing in mind the particular goal of this study, total research

participation by a small number of individuals, willing not only to

answer specific questions, but also to divulge personal experiences

important to the understanding of their experience of the program in the

first year of implementation, it was therefore necessary to investigate

several options for an appropriate research methodology.

Program description and evaluation could not be confined to tradi-

tional pretest-treatment-posttest models, unless the only desired out-

come was to be improved test scores (Fairgrieve, 1977). This was

especially true because innovative procedures were being introduced, and

their success could not be well evaluated merely by the outcome of test

scores, in the absence of considering the experiences of the partici-

pants while involved in the innovative program.

Highly quantitative approaches based upon prestructured tests or

questionnaires were shortly rejected as inappropriate to the discovery

of the experiential aspects of the program by the participants. The

sample sizes would be necessarily low, and in any case, as stated, much

of this research was of an inductive or exploratory nature, where too

much structuring in advance could lead unnecessarily to built-in biases

and especially to oversights.

One crucial aspect of the law concerned the lack of prerequisite

testing and credit earning activities of the elderly participants. It

was determined early on, that to exert any intellectual pressure on the

students in the form of formal tests would not only be unfair to the

participants, but would not be in keeping with the permissive spirit of

the law. Because the noncredit proviso existed within the law, esta-

blishing no strictures on attendance, study, or grading, it would also

have been awkward to investigate learning and memory aspects of program

participation. While a very few students did take tests, and thus

received quantitative feedback, this possibility was totally unexpected

by this researcher, based upon the higher education committee hearings

and the commonly held view of the academic activities of the audit


Therefore, certain baseline determinations were reached regarding

research expectations, based totally upon that information which was

available to the researcher in advance of the actual fieldwork (Wolcott,

1975). It was decided that some quantitative data were necessary and

were readily available, therefore that the research design should in-

clude a documentary search for pertinent quantitative data which could

be used for comparisons, and thus generalized to similar studies.

However, in these circumstances it gradually became clear that some mix

of quantitative and qualitative data gathering was in order.

The anticipated characteristics of the elderly population, and an

awareness of possible barriers to participation were considered. Bar-

riers such as lack of understanding of the questions, possible intimida-

tion by the nature of the questions, possible intimidation by question-

naires in general (seen as "tests"), and the stilted and potentially

unenlightening nature of answers to questions phrased in such formats as

yes or no; or somewhat agree or somewhat disagree, were considered.

Written answers short enough to fit in a provided space were also con-

sidered, as were their inhibiting factors for the elderly. Physical

difficulties such as arthritic hands and sensory impairment of sight or

hearing were considered, but were partially dismissed as being largely

irrelevant to the highly motivated student population that would be

likely to register under provisions of Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m).

It was finally determined that a relatively personal approach, even

beyond that employed by Perkins and Robertson-Tchabo (1981), would be

practical and valuable in measuring the degree of participant coopera-

tion required by this research. The range of alternative, more fully

quantitative approaches almost by definition require a large sample

population, and presuppose some conclusions previously having been made

by the researcher which can then be supported or undermined.

An investigative study, following the development of the program

from proposed bill to completion of the first year of implementation,

was in this manner determined to be the best approach to the discovery

of the experiences of the participants, to how these experiences cor-

related with the intentions of the proponents and lawmakers, and to how

they compared with those of students participating in similar studies.

Once a personal approach was decided, this researcher strongly con-

sidered the use of the ethnographic investigation method termed "parti-

cipant-observation." Through this methodology, the researcher joins the

research subjects and becomes a member of the group, experiencing the

situation as completely as possible. This enables the researcher to

report the subject from an insider's view of the situation under study.

Several factors, however, limited this possibility as a research tech-

nique or method.

As employed in anthropology, participant-observation derives much

of its value from interaction with subjects within the context of their

homes, local communities, and daily lives. In this case, getting to

know their background better, and perhaps even observing their univer-

sity classes, might have provided additional insights. But the subject

population came from many sectors of an urban community, and any kind of

systematic study of this kind would have been prohibitive. Neverthe-

less, the humanistic, personal approach characteristic of traditional

ethnographic research (both in this country and elsewhere), designed to

ascertain the personal values, theoretical orientation, imagination, and

sensitivity of the subjects, as well as to take into account the per-

sonality of the researcher (Honigmann, 1976), was still considered worth

emulating at least in part.

A blend of quantitative research procedures necessary for com-

parability and replication, and of qualitative research procedures,

necessary for experiential understanding and high participation rate,

was in order. Qualitative research can be considered as based on the

notion that this approach enables an understanding of the inner workings

of a problem, whereas quantitative approaches can be seen to define

outer or surface behaviors which may be caused to some extent by more

basic structures (Rist, 1975). The discovery of these underlying fac-

tors was considered vital as applied to both areas of research, the

history and establishment of the law, to be developed through an induc-

tive or exploratory approach, and the reality of the law as experienced

by the participants, to be developed through a personal approach (McCall

& Simmons, 1969).

An inductive methodology is based upon bringing forth many separate

facts in order to explain an occurrence or to derive a general statement

(Fairgrieve, 1977). In this case it had been determined to use a com-

bined inductive and discovery approach, as discussed by Bohannon and

Glazer (1973), which would reveal influential environmental factors,

clarify psychological aspects, and produce the history of a local devel-

opment. By employing such a methodology, it was hoped that a complete

understanding of the law, especially the intent of the law as envisioned

by its proponents, would be revealed.

It was also important to examine the educational program as much as

possible from the viewpoint of the participants, in order to discover

their opinions concerning its utility or success in meeting their needs

(Harris, 1968). Various interview methodologies were considered at this

point, since they would enable adequate information retrieval, could be

structured to eliminate barriers to participation, and (hopefully) could

compel the total cooperation of the limited number of participants.

One comprehensive interview methodology, actually employing several

forms of investigation, is termed triangulation, being the combined use

of documents, informants, and observations (Denzin, 1970). This com-

bination of methods for studying one phenomenon emerges from an under-

standing that no one technique is completely error-free, nor can any one

method reveal the totality of information available through the use of

multiple strategies. Through the use of a triangulation approach to the

present research, documentary evidence as well as the personal experi-

ences of the participants, ascertained through an interview strategy,

could be utilized to create a fuller or more complete understanding of

the nature and response to the policy change. The particular mix of

research strategies adopted here can be considered a type of triangu-

lation as viewed by Denzin (1970).

There are two methodological assumptions underlying a relatively

nonstandardized or open-ended interview format. One is that while ques-

tions must be to some degree standardized, they should also be equally

understandable by each respondent. The second assumption is that no

standard sequence of questions is right for everyone, and that the best

sequence for the respondent is one he or she chooses. In this manner,

the respondent is free to define his or her own world, whereby the

researcher can approach that world from the subjects' perspective

(Denzin, 1970). Since relatively nonstructured or open-ended interviews

have, by design, the leeway to proceed at the discretion of the partici-

pants, limitations must be imposed by the researcher in order to provide

certain frameworks to insure that all necessary questions are addressed.

In the conduct of conversation during an interview, it is not normally

difficult to manipulate the course of the discussion to conform to such

basic frameworks.

The choice of a research methodology should also consider data pro-

cessing and analysis, which is clearly related to the type and format of

data received as well as to the quantity of data to be collected.

Quantitative data are often most easily analyzed following tabulation in

categories, which enables the researcher to discern apparent patterns,

whose significance can normally be determined through appropriate stat-

istical tests. Because personal approach, that is, qualitative inter-

view data, cannot be as easily tabulated and statistically manipulated,

processing and analysis procedures must differ accordingly. For small

numbers of subjects, Becker (1958) recommends practical data storage in

the form of cards, which can be useful for organization or analysis and

yet allow for continued personal manipulation of the data. Analysis

techniques are also necessary which are capable of assessing the evi-

dence as presented, and which best profit the investigator in illuminat-

ing problems and possible solutions during the course of research

(Wilson, 1977) instead of exclusively following it.

Based upon the time component of research during the first ongoing

year of implementation, and the age of the student participants, it was

judged beneficial to have a research design which would enable at least

a moderate amount of ongoing analysis during the data collection period.

Present Research Approach

Taking all of the above under consideration, and recognizing the

research approaches utilized in similar studies and the anticipated

characteristics of the participants, an open-ended, standardized inter-

view format was designed to ascertain the experiences of the partici-

pants involved in the program. The information thus obtained would be

coupled with quantitative data obtained from available documents.

Interview data were stored and coded on edge-punch cards. The following

section details specifically the research procedures utilized with each

of the three categories of program participants.

Types of Contacts

Common sense dictates that exploratory studies such as this argue

against single contacts, since each informant can potentially open new

areas for discussion or manipulate the focus of the interview somewhat

to incorporate their particular experiences. As interviews progress,

the new subjects or variations which emerge may be crosschecked for

verification, or elimination, as potentially relevant questions to be

addressed by the entire population. Such was the case in this research.

Table 1 indicates the types of contacts with participants and other

individuals who were thought to be potential sources of information

relevant to this study. This table includes the category of person

contacted, the number of persons contacted, the mode of contact, the

number of contacts by mode, and the average length of contact. One

telephone contact made in connection with this study which is not in-

cluded in Table 1 was from an elderly student to this researcher,

inquiring into the progress of the research, and when and how she would

be able to read the report for herself.

Because of individual variations it is difficult to justify gene-

ralizing contact length by mode and category, or to present average con-

tact lengths by mode and category, because this may give rise to mis-

leading assumptions. For instance, the administrators contacted in this

research invested approximately 4 minutes, 20 minutes, and 6.5 hours

respectively, by means of various contact modes, depending upon their

level of involvement and knowledge. It would be a distortion to assume

Table 1. Types of Contacts with Participants.

Category of Mode Number Length of
Persons Number of of Contact in
Contacted Contacted Contact Contacts Minutes

Gainesville Sun
University of
Florida Libraries-
Government Documents
State of Florida

Local Agency


Elderly Students


1 telephone I 15

in person

in person

in person

in person
in person
in person
in person
second letter

1 each

1 each

1 each

1 each
2 each
2 each
I each
1 eact
1 each
1 each
1 eact
1 each
1 each


in person

2 eac
1 eaci
1 eac
1 each

with tape
transmittal and
requesting and
authorizing receipt
of information
requesting and
h 15
less than 3
h 5
h 15
h 30

level of interest or cooperation based upon contact length or mode, nor

would averaging these figures (2.25 hours each), be especially informa-

tive, in light of the extreme range. This is slightly less serious when

averaging length of contact by professor to 19 minutes, or by student to

45 minutes, yet it is even more necessary in these instances to avoid

assumptions of level of interest or cooperation based upon length of

contact. One should also not assume that the total length of contact

time was solely devoted to the research questions.

As depicted in Table 1, the representative of the Gainesville Sun

contacted concerning the printed articles on the educational program for

the elderly was interviewed by telephone. The initial telephone contact

with staff of the Senate higher education committee revealed the exis-

tence of tapes of the Senate and House committee hearings. These were

subsequently requested by letter. The duality of committees neces-

sitated a telephone call to parallel House staff, and similar letters

regarding the tapes. Blank cassette tapes were sent to the appropriate

staff assistant for both the Senate and House Higher Education com-

mittees. Using a high speed duplicator, copies were made of the origi-

nals onto the blank cassettes and they were returned. There is no

charge for making the copies and they are available upon request if

blank cassettes are submitted. An additional telephone conversation was

held with a staff member of the Senate committee following receipt of

the appropriate cassette tape. Three local agency personnel were con-

tacted by telephone, with one personally interviewed during research in

this agency's library. Actual copies of the bill, in its various forms

as it developed and in its final version, were readily available from

the government documents section at the University of Florida Library,

as were the official guidelines for local implementation as established

by the Florida Board of Regents.

A written request for copies of the elderly registration forms (see

Appendix B.1) was submitted to the Office of the Registrar in early

March of 1981. Copies of the forms for fall quarter 1980, and winter

and spring quarters of 1981, were received. No elderly students en-

rolled for the summer 1981 quarter. Upon receipt of these forms, a

letter of explanation requesting elderly student participation was

mailed to the 24 students (see Appendix C.1) and included a postcard for

ease of reply. A twenty-fifth student, located during the course of the

research, was contacted and interviewed by telephone.

Every attempt was made to insure 100 percent participation of this

student population. When postcards were received from the elderly,

initial telephone contacts were made, establishing or confirming an

interview date and location. Personal interviews were conducted with 21

elderly students, coupled with followup telephone conversations as

necessary to ask additional questions or resolve inconsistencies.

Personal interview locales varied and included students' homes (18),

restaurants (3), a park (1), the University Library (1), and place of

employment (1).

In addition to the administrator in the Registrar's Office, two

other officials of the University, one from the Office of Student

Affairs and the other from the Office of Academic Affairs, were con-

tacted to elicit their opinions regarding the perceived impact on the

University of the program for elderly students, as viewed from their

differing perspectives. Both were contacted by telephone to arrange an

interview, but both suggested that the interview be conducted over the

telephone at that time.

Twenty-three of the professors were contacted by telephone, with 22

being interviewed in this manner. Several were contacted a second or

third time. These telephone interviews were relatively brief. In com-

parison to the more lengthy student interviews, the professors generally

addressed only the issues under discussion. Several professors had very

little information to report because of limited interaction with the

student, and others related that they felt lengthy discussions about one

nondegree auditor was not an efficient use of their time. A twenty-

third professor was personally interviewed outside his classroom while

he was monitoring a student examination. A departmental secretary

provided the address of a twenty-fourth professor who had accepted a

position at another university, and who was sent a questionnaire which

was completed and returned. A twenty-fifth professor, a graduate teach-

ing assistant at the time he taught the course, was away from the

University of Florida conducting doctoral research and was never con-

tacted during this study.

Interview topics (see Appendix C.3) followed the general guidelines

dictated by the research questions in Chapter I. Some questions were

not appropriate to every participant, even within categories, or rele-

vant to everyone's experience with the program. A few participants did

not choose to answer some of the questions, and several offered subjects

for discussion which had not been anticipated by the researcher. In

some instances these topics were discussed by telephone with informants

previously interviewed, as deemed appropriate.

Confidentiality was very important to the students, and also to the

professors to a lesser extent. Consequently several "off the record"

comments have been excluded from the notes and discussion in this dis-


The interviews unfolded as informal discussions, so the questions

were not asked in an established order, rigorously followed for every

informant. This interview form is referred to be some sociologists as

"nonscheduled standardized" (Richardson, Dohrenwend, & Klein, 1965), or

the "focused interview" (Merton & Kendall, 1946) that is, the focus of

the interview is on the person. In this type of interview schedule, as

stated, the same general subjects are discussed with each participant as

appropriate, but the order of questioning varies with each interviewee

depending upon their experience, course chosen, registration status, and

their preference.

For example, questions about specific details concerning the course

chosen, goal establishment or attainment, future enrollment plans, and

so forth were inappropriate questions for the two students who attended

solely to accompany a friend. However, these students were interested

and verbal concerning social interaction questions. Similarly, a stu-

dent who dropped out of the program might have little information con-

cerning the conduct of the course itself, but would be in an excellent

position to discuss barriers to participation in educational programs

for the elderly.

In this type of interview it would be inappropriate to structure

the conversational flow in such a manner that it would inhibit free

exchange of information. Therefore, although the sequence of interview

topics as presented in Appendix C.3 appeared inherently coherent to this

researcher, such logic did not prevail in all interviews, and subjects

were sometimes covered in a much different order. In addition, on

occasion the participants initiated discussion of topics not on the

original question list. A student-initiated topic which was added to

the list during the research was, "What advice would you give future

enrollees?" Students interviewed prior to introduction of this question

were recontacted for their response.

Only three participants permitted their interviews to be taped.

Most of the negative responses attending the proposition that the inter-

view be taped were attributed to the fact that the machine would make

the participant uncomfortable.

Information gained from the remainder of the interviews was record-

ed by hand on a note pad, and later transferred to edge-punch cards

using the Indecks Research Deck system. This manual recording and

retrieval system utilizes 5 by 8-inch cards, coded for punch and stylus

reorganization. An example of an Indecks card, which contains the

retrieval code for this research, is included as Appendix C.4.

Some subjects were coded on the retrieval card prior to commence-

ment of the interviews and as the interviews progressed additional

subjects and new divisions were added to the system. For instance,

sections 49-55 concern knowledge of the law, and prior to the research

classifications 52, 53, 54 were established. As interviews progressed,

topics coded as 49, 50, 51, and 55 were addressed so they were added to

the card. Codes 56-59 were developed as the interviews progressed, since

this material was not anticipated. Therefore, as data were collected

and recorded on Indecks cards, codes were punched and new codes were

noted on the retrieval card as they occurred. Retrieval is by simple

insertion of a stylus through the pertinent code of the stack of cards,

enabling those punched at that code to fall from the deck. Appendix C.5

represents a typical student card, although the information on it is

fictional for the purpose of demonstration.

Analysis procedures consisted largely of digesting and classifying

situations and experiences as reported by the participants, and of

searching for any major discrepancies among the responses. An advantage

of this system, beyond its inexpensive and portable nature, is that once

all cards addressing a certain subject are obtained from the deck by

stylus, visual examination provides an opportunity to correlate re-

sponses, or to pose additional questions based upon information present

on the card but not a part of the original question. For instance, if

ten students learned of the law from a friend, it would be beneficial

for the discussion of publicity needs to know if one person told all ten

of the law, or if ten different friends were responsible. As another

example, if there were ten cards addressing the subject of difficulty of

class materials identified by the stylus pass, it would be a simple

matter to note if the ten students were in the same class or different

classes, or if academic level or subject matter cross-correlations could

be identified.

Confidentiality of the interview data source is assured because

access to the Indecks cards is limited to the researcher. "Off the

record" statements made by professors have never been recorded. Because

of the small population size, there is a possibility that particular

students could be linked to identifiable professors through common

statements, therefore even though none of the professors specifically

requested confidentiality, none have been identified in order to protect

all of the informant identities. Specific course names also are not

given for the same reason.

None of the nonstudent, nonprofessor participants or interviewees

addressed the subject of confidentiality. It is felt that their level

of participation was a function of their role as employee, and that

their responses would reflect that role, rather than as a voluntary

participant. Their identification by name in this study is unwarranted.

Documentary information providing quantitative data was readily

available through the Office of the Registrar, concerning the age, sex,

course, and academic level of enrollment of the elderly students.

One of the primary limitations of this research was that interviews

were conducted on only one of the nine campuses comprising the univer-

sity systems of the State of Florida. No attempt was made to determine

by any criteria if the University of Florida campus was typical of the

remaining universities within the system. While student participation

in this research was total, and professor participation was 96 percent,

there is little use denying that the small sample size of the population

was a drawback. Because the attending students were in a noncredit

program little attention was devoted to their formal educational back-

ground, which may have had an effect on their participation. This is

regrettable, in retrospect, and should be mentioned as an additional

limitation to this study.

Several factors revealed during this research as affecting the

elderly student population under study are also reported in the litera-

ture, and comparisons can be made on several issues. These include

course type chosen, motivations for course choice, and barriers to

education reported by both the elderly students who completed the pro-

gram and those who did not. Because the total student population and

all except one of the professors participated in this research, which

has been an ideal participation level expressed by several researchers

with similar groups, comparisons between methodologies and other aspects

of the research strategies may prove beneficial.

The framework for policy change study developed by Sabatier and

Mazmanian (1981), and to be employed in modified form in this research

to examine the first year of implementation, was determined to be a

focus for the analysis of these data for several reasons. Chiefly, the

framework provides a logical, chronological structure through which the

plan and reality of a policy change can be examined. Secondarily,

discrepancies which are revealed through the open-ended interviews can

be traced to probable causative factors, in a theoretical framework,

thus testing the validity of that framework while at the same time

providing guidance in the analysis.

Presentation of the Data

Following the general experiential line of the research topics, as

presented in Chapter I, the following chapter reports the results of the

interviews with the three categories of participants. Analysis of these

data in Chapter V permits some generalizations to be made regarding

these experiences and reveals several discrepancies between the program

as envisioned by the lawmakers and as perceived by the participants.

The policy change as implemented on the University of Florida campus is

examined utilizing the framework developed by Sabatier and Mazmanian

(1981) for analysis of policy change implementation. Conclusions re-

garding the experiences of the participants explained by this analysis

completes this study.




As previously stated, responses were obtained from three categories

of participants at the University of Florida: administrators, elderly

students, and their professors. The following chapter presents these

participants' responses to the series of questions intended to reveal

their degree of awareness of the program, their response to it, their

attitudes concerning it, and the specific nature of their participation

in the educational program made available to the elderly through passage

of Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m).


Because of their differing areas of responsibility to the entire

student population, three administrative officials of the university,

one from the Office of Academic Affairs, one from the Office of Student

Affairs, and one from the Office of the Registrar, were interviewed

regarding what effect they felt the law would have on the University of

Florida and to ascertain the extent of the University's response and

commitment to the elderly student enrollees.

At What Level of the Administrative Hierarchy Was the Responsibility

The representative from the Office of Academic Affairs was con-

tacted once by telephone and was asked about the nature of involve-

ment by that office in the elderly student program. An approximately

four-minute long conversation revealed no involvement by the Office of

Academic Affairs, and in fact, an ignorance at least by this official of

the existence of Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m) and its relevance to the

University of Florida. The administrator suggested that pertinent

information regarding university participation could be obtained from

the Office of the Registrar.

An 18-minute long telephone conversation with a representative from

the Office of Student Affairs revealed that this administrator was

cognizant of the law, and of the possibility of enrollment by elderly

students, but revealed no knowledge of the actual presence of the el-

derly students in the program as implemented on campus. Once again it

was suggested that further inquiries should be directed to the staff of

the Office of the Registrar, who would have direct contact with, and

responsibility for, the elderly students, and thus would be in a better

position to provide detailed information.

Contact by this researcher with Registrar's office staff was con-

sequently varied and frequent (see Table 1). Letters, telephone conver-

sations, and personal interviews, conducted over a five-month period,

provided most of the information collected concerning the administrative

involvement of the University of Florida in the program, and the imple-

mentation measures adopted by the Office of the Registrar to facilitate

this policy change. Thus it fell to this office in the University

hierarchy to deal almost exclusively with the implementation.

What Was Done at the Administrative Level to Implement
the Policy Change?

Policy implementation during the first academic year was carried

out entirely at the level of control of the Registrar's office. Weekly

summaries of the legislative activities affecting higher education,

consisting of a few sentences on each bill, are published by the Florida

Department of Education, Public Information Services, and are trans-

mitted to interested parties throughout the state, including the Office

of the Registrar at the University of Florida. By means of these sum-

maries, administrators are able to keep track of possible legislation

affecting their institution, and thus have opportunities to comment on

proposed legislation before it becomes law and/or to prepare to imple-

ment legislation after it becomes law.

The passage of Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m) was thereby antici-

pated by the staff of the Office of the Registrar at the University of

Florida. When the Board of Regents' Supplement No. 124 was received by

the staff, their analysis of the accountability requirements revealed

them to be minimal in nature. Therefore, it was determined by a senior

staff member that the information required for accountability could be

most easily obtained from a registration form especially prepared for

the elderly. This form would provide the specific information required

by the Board of Regents as well as that required by the University for


What Was the Nature of the Procedures Introduced to Implement
the Policy Change?

The elderly registration form developed by the Registrar's staff

(see Appendix B) is a three-part self-carbon which permits the student,

the professor, and the Registrar to possess records of class enrollment.

As stated, the information required of the elderly is based upon the

quarterly accountability needs of the Board of Regents, and is limited

to name, social security number, address, age, course, academic term of

enrollment, and the approval signatures of the professor, department

chairman and Registrar. According to registration instructions on the

back of the third (student's) copy of the form, enrollees need only to

demonstrate their age and to have permission of the instructor in order

to attend the University under the provisions of State Law

240.209(3)(m). The departmental and Registrar approvals, although

required, are formalities based upon the approval of the professor.

This procedure completes the paperwork required by the University for

each elderly student. Their names do not appear on class rolls for the

courses in which they are registered, no investigation is made at any

level to see if they attend or complete the course, and no measurement

is made of their academic achievement while enrolled in that course.

Neither the professor nor department is required to file any accounting

of these students and no official credit is given to the department or

professor for permitting them to attend the class.

To What Degree Did the Introduced Procedures Correspond to Existing
Bureaucratic Structure, and to What Extent Were They Innovative
in Response to the Specific Needs of the New Student Population?

The staff of the Registrar's Office, assuming the general charac-

teristics of the elderly student population, made an attempt to inte-

grate them administratively into one of the established student cate-

gories. It was determined that the students attending under provisions

of Florida Statute 240.209(3)(m) would more closely approximate the

established category of audit student than any of the other traditional

student classifications. Audit students pay the regular tuition fees,

but like the anticipated elderly they receive no academic credit and

are admitted on a space-available basis with the permission of the

professor. An official from the Registrar's staff explained "space-

availability," as practiced, in the following manner.

Space-availability is determined by the faculty member who will

teach the course and the size of the classroom in which the course is to

be taught. The subject matter is an added factor. For example, sub-

jects requiring laboratory space must have lower enrollment because of

the increased space per student needed for the proper conduct of the

course. If a course has a predetermined space-availability of 20 stu-

dents, and if an additional student wishes to take the course, the

professor decides if one more student can be placed in the class without

impeding normal conduct of the course. If the decision is made to

include the additional student, then the appropriate department chair-

person must approve, and if so, the space-availability is changed to 21.

In the case of a lecture class, it is possible for a space-availability

of 25 to change to 35 or more, if the classroom locale is changed on the

initiative of the professor. Space-availability according to the admin-

istrators would not be expected to be a limiting factor in permitting an

audit student into the classroom.

However, a potential effect of the auditing elderly on the space-

availability policy occurs during the drop-add registration period,

which is the official registration period for the elderly students.

According the the Registrar's Office official, all drop-add is on a

space-available basis because regular students have had their oppor-

tunity to register during regularly scheduled times appointed to them.

At the close of regular registration, there are no further priorities in

effect and course admission is granted on a "first-come-first-served"

basis. The Registrar's Office official interviewed admitted that

theoretically, at the beginning of the drop-add period, a tuition-paying

student who needs a course for graduation, but for some reason is having

to register later than the scheduled time, can be denied admission to a

course in favor of an elderly enrollee whose form was submitted prior to

the traditional student's attempted registration. If the elderly audit

student had taken the last space, and the professor was unwilling to

increase the space-availability, the tuition-paying student would have

to wait for a future quarter in which to take the necessary course. The

actual probability of this happening would be slim, however, because the

representative reported that only about five percent of the courses

close out, and that these five percent close out very early during

regular registration.

Another established bureaucratic structure which had caused con-

siderable concern to the legislators was minimum course enrollment. The

same Registrar's Office official explained the procedures for handling

minimum course enrollment. The minimum number of students who must be

registered in a course before it will be taught is predetermined, based

upon expenses and the course level. If at the end of regular regis-

tration, the minimum number has not been reached, the Registar's Office

calls the department, and asks if they feel the course will "make"

(obtain the required number of students), during the drop-add period.

If the department representative indicates in the affirmative, then the

course is not deleted from the computer for further access. If during

drop-add, which is the first time auditing students may register, the

minimum number of students is reached, the course is taught according to

plan and the professor is paid the normal salary for the professional

services rendered. In this instance, the Registrar's policy recognizes

the registering audit student in the minimum course enrollment figure,

and the registration of one or more nonpaying elderly students can

therefore have a direct effect on whether or not a course is taught.

Thus the elderly students were neatly assimilated into the established

category of audit student.

The registration form and procedures for elderly student regis-

trations were consequently modeled after those for audit students. The

elderly registration form is reproduced in Appendix B. Although the


the lower quarter of the form curiously contains a section that is not

applicable to elderly students registering under the provisions of State

Law 240.209(3)(m). This portion of the form is devoted to a certifica-

tion of course completion, which is necessary for the awarding of cre-

dits through the Continuing Education branch of the University of

Florida. Because the awarding of Continuing Education unit credits does

not apply to the elderly students under provisions of this law, a regis-

tration official was questioned regarding the inclusion of this section

on the form. The official replied that he was aware that the section

did not apply to the elderly students registered under State Law

240.209(3)(m), because they were not permitted to receive credit for

coursework, but would not give a reason for its having been mistakenly

included. It was then brought to the official's attention that since

the form states that no record of the coursework represented by the form

will be maintained unless the professor forwards a certification of

completion to the Registrar, elderly students might assume that records

would be maintained with certification of completion. This problem was


When questioned about the block entitled "Waiver Code," which

appears on the front of the form, the Registrar's Office representative

stated that it is used to record the amount of money that the University

would be receiving for services rendered by the professors to the el-

derly students, if these students were not being given a "free ride" in

the form of tuition waivers. When asked what use is made of these

waiver amounts, it was reported that this number is used in quarterly

accountability procedures to the Board of Regents.

Physical registration procedures for both audit and elderly stu-

dents were simple. Interested students were required to appear in the

Registrar's office where they were given the registration form, and

instructed to have the professor and the department chairman sign the

form in approval for the student to attend the selected course. The

student was then instructed to return the form to the Registrar's office

during the first week of classes for final approval. Following this

approval, the student, the professor, and the Registrar receive the

appropriate copies for their files. The Registrar's copy is used in the

compilation of the required quarterly accountability report prepared by

the Registrar concerning the University's student population for sub-

mittal to the Board of Regents. The only accommodation in this proce-

dure made for elderly students is that they were to be required to bring

proof of age (such as a birth certificate or a driver's license) to the

Registrar's Office when they submitted their signed form for final


As with audit students, staff members in the Registrar's Office

were instructed to distribute the elderly registration forms to appli-

cants and to explain to them how to complete the form, if requested.

Staff members were to check the proof of age documentation when the form

was returned by the elderly enrollee, as stipulated on the back of the

registration form.

Upon receipt of these forms, and after checking the proof-of-age

documentation, the Registrar's Office staff procedure is to stamp the

date of receipt on the form, compute the waiver code, and sign the form

as approved. The staff member retains the first copy and instructs the

elderly students to submit the second copy to the professor at the first

class meeting and to keep the third copy for their own records. The

copy retained by the Registrar's Office is placed in a file to be used

in the quarterly accountability report to the Board of Regents.

What Accountability Procedures for the New Program Were Implemented?

An accountability report to the Board of Regents is prepared fol-

lowing the end of each quarter and covers various aspects of the entire

enrolled student population. Because the information provided to the

Regents on the elderly students is compiled from the registration forms,

the administrative paperwork necessary to prove compliance with the law

is completed at the end of the first week of classes, which according to

the registration instructions (see Appendix B.2) is the official sub-

mission date for the registration forms to be returned to the Office of

the Registrar for final approval.

Did This Accountability at the Administrative Level Include
Any Form of Qualitative Program Evaluation?

The quarterly report to the Board of Regents by the Office of the

Registrar is tabular and only contains the total number of elderly

students and the total waiver amount. Having received no mandate to do

so, no monitoring or evaluation procedures are undertaken by the

University administration and no qualitative analysis is produced.

How Was the New Program Publicized at the University Level?

The Office of Student Affairs representative was asked whether the

University of Florida intended to publicize this program for the el-

derly. The official answered by stating that the University was cur-

rently in the process of upgrading the admissions criteria to justify

having to turn away excess students, and that it would be difficult to

get support for publicity to attract new students entering under a

nontuition program.

The Registrar's Office representative was likewise asked what

publicity had been generated by the University to attract elderly en-

rollees or what publicity was forthcoming. It was revealed that none

had been produced and that none were intended; however, a sentence was

being added to the audit student section of the 1981-82 Florida Record,

the catalog of the University of Florida, stipulating that free course

enrollment was available for those elderly meeting statute requirements.

The only other information on the educational program for the elderly

generated by the University was that printed on the back of the third

(student's) copy of the registration form. This information, which does

not appear on the other two copies, concerns eligibility requirements

and registration procedures.

With What Degree of Commitment or Interest Did the Administration

Varied levels of commitment were evident among the responses of

representatives of the three administrative offices contacted. The

Office of Academic Affairs representative expressed a lack of know-

ledge about the statute or its implementation at the University of

Florida. His particular attitude toward the program is most evident in

his response to a question as to whether the University of Florida had

an official policy or philosophy regarding elderly students in attend-

ance. The administrator responded, "If the law exists, we obey the law.

We have no special courses for them, no special channels. We simply

obey the law."

The administrator contacted in the Office of Student Affairs gave a

much different reply to the same question.

I think the biggest problem [is that] we define anyone over 25
as being older than average. The average age here is 22. The
huge majority is 18 to 22. A problem of the older than aver-
age studentss, especially if they return to school as an
undergraduate, is that they feel isolated, out of place,
initially. Professors are used to teaching our average 22
[year old student], and their stories and jokes are not appro-
priate for the older students.

In addition, the official stated that the administration feels that once

a student is enrolled in a class, the conduct of the class, the grading,

the participation, and so forth is entirely the responsibility of the

instructor. She felt that because the professors are given this auton-

omy, it is appropriate for the University to provide the professors with

as much information on the student population they are dealing with in

their classrooms as is administratively possible. In order to accom-

plish this, the administrator stated that the University was considering

the installation of a program for the faculty to help explain to them

some of the needs of the older student.

The Registrar's Office representative knew of no official University

policy or philosophy beyond simple adherence to the Florida Administra-

tive Code, which provided for compliance with the law.

After the First Year, in What Respects Did the Administrators Feel That
the New Program Had Changed the Nature or Quality of Education at the
University of Florida?

The Office of Student Affairs official stated that in the case of

the elderly students, 25 out of approximately 30,000 would not be likely

to have any great effect, nor cause many changes in the University as a

whole. The same sentiment was expressed in the Registrar's Office, and,

in fact, the administrator questioned the appropriateness of the term

"program" to apply to the elderly enrollees, since there were so few

students registered.


There were 25 elderly students enrolled under provisions of Florida

Statute 240.209(3)(m) at the University of Florida during the first

academic year of implementation. Interviews were conducted with each of

these students, as previously outlined in Table 1, which followed the

general question format reported in Appendix C.3. On some subjects, all

25 had comments, and on some other subjects few had any remarks or

opinions. The following sections present the basic results of the

elderly student interviews.

What Would Be the Extent of the Elderly's Information Pertaining to the
Law Prior to Registration?

The degree of student awareness of the provisions of Florida

Statute 240.209(3)(m) varied from total ignorance to very detailed

knowledge, although the elderly students' answers to questions con-

cerning knowledge of the law and knowledge of the program established by

the law overlap considerably. Four learned of the law from friends, 12

from articles in the local daily newspaper (the Gainesville Sun), and

five from information provided in newsletters published by the Older

Americans Council or Retired Senior Volunteer Program. One student was

told about the law by a Registrar's Office staff member while attempting

to register as a tuition-paying audit student. One of the students, who

registered to accompany a friend, was unaware of the law until the

interview. The remaining two students were the only ones who had actu-

ally read the law as written. One of them was a member of the Silver-

Haired Legislature during passage of the the law, and the other was a

newly elected Silver-Haired Legislature member for the upcoming 1981


How Would the Elderly Students Have Learned of the Program?

Ten students expressed concern over the lack of publicity announc-

ing the availability of this educational opportunity for the elderly.

In general the publicity regarding the educational benefits to be de-

rived from the passage of the law came from two sources, the Older

Americans Council/Retired Senior Volunteer Program printed matter (news-

letters), and the Gainesville Sun.

In the OAC/RSVP publicity, information about the law itself was

contained within two similar short articles which concerned a particular

course to be offered expressly for the elderly by the University of

Florida. The nontuition aspect of the course offering was explained as

the result of the passage of a law permitting elderly to attend on a

tuition-free basis.

The second source consisted of three short announcements in the

Gainesville Sun. On June 4, 1980, as a part of its regular procedure of

reporting activities in the Florida Legislature, the Sun announced the

introduction of a bill that, "would waive some tuition and registration

fees for persons over 60 years old at state colleges and universities."

On August 2, 1980, another article reporting the passage of the bill

into law appeared, which also included detailed registration informa-

tion. The final article to appear in the Gainesville Sun prior to the

opening of fall 1980 registration was published on August 9, 1980. This

article announced the implementation of the law at the local level

beginning September, 1980 and outlined the enrollment requirements. A

representative of the Gainesville Sun stated that articles such as these

are routine and should be expected because whenever a law passes that

affects the University of Florida, the City of Gainesville has a right

to know. The University of Florida, in contrast, did not participate in

any way in the publication of this information, although one official of

the Registrar's Office was interviewed in the August 9, 1980,

Gainesville Sun article.

Five different opinions were offered by students concerning the

need for improved publicity regarding this educational opportunity. One

student felt that too many community and university affairs of interest

escaped the attention of the elderly in the absence of detailed news-

paper accounts. One student, surprised at the lack of knowledge concern-

ing the law shown by the faculty and staff of the University, felt that

the Gainesville Sun had not adequately fulfilled its obligation to

inform the community. Three students felt that the University should

have provided publicity for the program, even though each thought that

the University might have misgivings about admitting elderly students.

Another suggested that a lack of publicity by the University itself

might stem from the elderly not being wanted in the classrooms, especi-

ally in light of the increasing numbers of traditional students attempt-

ing to enter the University, and the problems this was causing with the

state-established enrollment ceiling for the University of Florida.

However, the same student felt that because the classes were to be

offered at the University, as required by state law, it should be the

responsibility of the University to openly support the law and to

actively implement the program.

One student stated that because the elderly paid taxes and sup-

ported education, they had a right to free tuition at the best schools

available, and that the availability of this opportunity should be made

known so that it could be utilized, although a specific public relations

responsibility was not suggested by this elderly student. An elderly

student who was a retired university professor felt that the University

should shoulder the responsibility of publicity, because it is the

institution offering the educational opportunity, and because courses at

the University of Florida represented the high standard of education to

which the elderly could aspire.

What Would Be the General Nature of the Elderly Student Response to the
New Program?

As stated, during the 1980-81 academic year a total of only 25

elderly students enrolled at the University of Florida. In comparison

to a total enrollment of approximately 30,000 this number of elderly

students can be safely termed meager. Table 2 presents a summation of

these 25 students and their course enrollment figures per quarter.

Table 2. Summary of Course Enrollment.

Fall Winter Spring Summer (excluding
Quarter Quarter Quarter Quarter Summer
(1980) (1981) (1981) (1981) Quarter)

Number of
Students (n=25) 11 19 7 0 12.3
Number of
Courses (n=35) 12 14 9 0 11.6

Five students actively pursuing specific curricula of study in

progressive sequence were enrolled in each of the first three quarters.

The abrupt rise and decline shown by the winter quarter figures is

explained by eight students all enrolled in one class with no subsequent

registrations. In addition to these eight, two other students were

enrolled in one course, and the remaining 33 courses contained one

elderly student each. The decline in spring quarter registrations was

explained by all seven of the nonreturning winter quarter students as

because of the beautiful weather, which permitted alternate activities.

Travel and gardening plans prohibited attendance in the summer quarter

for all seven of the spring quarter enrollees, with one adding, ". .

who wants to go to school in the summertime?"

What Was the Age and Sex Profile of the Enrollees?

Although there were 16 females and only nine males comprising the

elderly student population, 21 courses were attended by females and 22

by males, making the actual course enrollment approximately equal for

both sexes. Table 3 provides a breakdown of age and sex data for the


Student ages at the time of initial registration ranged from 60 to

82, averaging 68. One student, aged 79, died during the academic year.

Would the Enrollment Level Be in Line with That Anticipated by the

While the legislators had expressed no specific quantitative esti-

mates for enrollment, they did expect the total cost of the program to

be less than the $200,000.00 annual limit for the entire program and

were anticipating that the $70,000.00 predicted by the Senate Staff

Analysis and Economic Impact Statement would be an appropriate annual

figure for the registration of elderly students in the state of Florida.

Based upon the $70,000.00 statewide annual prediction, representing 240

students per quarter as described in the Staff Analysis, each student

would be expected to cost the state approximately $73.00 per year. The

25 students at the University of Florida accounted for $2415.50 in fee

Table 3. Data on Course Enrollment, 1980-81 Academic Year.

STUDENT ACADEMIC 1000/ 2000/ 3000/ 4000/ 5000/ 6000/ WAIVER
No. Age Sex QUARTER 15.00 15.00 16.50 16.50 22.00 22.00 AMOUNT

3 62 F Fall
5 79 F Fall 1
6 74 M Fall -
8 61 F Fall
9 68 M Fall -
10 61 F Fall
12 63 M Fall -
13 65 F Fail -
13 65 F Fall -
23 60 M Fall -
24 70 M Fall -
25 66 M Fall 3
1 73 F Winter -
2 62 F Winter -
2 62 F Winter -
3 62 F Winter -
4 61 M Winter -
5 79 F Winter 1
7 68 F Winter -
9 68 M Winter -
11 75 F Winter -
12 63 M Winter -
14 72 F Winter -
15 71 F Winter -
16 66 F Winter -
17 77 F Winter -
18 79 M Winter -
19 82 M Winter -
22 67 F Winter -
23 60 M Winter -
24 70 M Winter 5
24 70 M Winter -
25 66 M Winter
3 62 F Spring -
12 63 M Spring
20 67 F Spring -
21 67 F Spring
23 60 M Spring
23 60 M Spring
24 70 M Spring 5
24 70 M Spring 5
24 70 M Spring 5
25 66 M Spring -

9 12 4
9 11 4
8 8 4

- $ 66.00
3 66.00
2 44.00
2 44.00
2 44.00
2 44.00
3 66.00
S 66.00
2 44.00
2 44.00
- 2 44.00
2 44.00
4 88.00
0 11
0 4 $2415.50
0 9

waivers, or an average of $96.62 per student which indicates a figure

almost 25 percent higher than anticipated in the Staff Analysis.

Would the Enrollment Level Be in Line with That Anticipated by the

Both the representatives of the Office of Student Affairs and the

Office of the Registrar stated they had no anticipated enrollment fig-

ures in mind, but nevertheless expected the numbers to be minimal, as

was the case. As stated, the contacted representative of the Office of

Academic Affairs was unaware of the program and therefore had no expec-

tation concerning it.

What Would Be the Types and Academic Level of Courses in which the
University of Florida Elderly Students Enrolled?

Table 3 presents pertinent data on the types of courses chosen by

the elderly students during the first academic year. Numbers were

randomly assigned to elderly students. This table presents the age and

sex of the student, the academic quarter of attendance, the academic

course level and number of credit hours for each course and the waiver

amount applied to each registration. As a typical example, Student 3

was a 62-year-old female who enrolled in a four-hour 3000 (junior) level

course during the fall 1980 quarter. At $16.50 per quarter hour, the

University waived $66.00 in tuition for this student.

As indicated in this table, coursework in all academic levels was

undertaken. The highest frequency of enrollment, with nine students, was

in upper graduate level coursework. Sophomore and junior level courses

were evenly attended with eight students each, followed by four at the

senior level and three at the freshman level. Of the 16 courses at the

1000 and 2000 (freshman and sophomore) levels, 11 enrollments were pre-

requisite for registration in advanced coursework in the chosen curricu-


The 35 academic courses have been placed in four categories: lan-

guages, humanities, social sciences, and technical skills, which are

further discussed below. Table 4 presents the data regarding the fre-

quency of coursework in each area of study and the number of students

enrolled in these courses.

Table 4. Academic Areas of Study.

Number Percent of Number Average Course
of Total Courses of Level of Elderly
Courses Containing Elderly Student
Elderly Students Enrollments
LANGUAGES 11 32 4 1.8
HUMANITIES 10 29 6 2.5
TOTALS 35 101 26* 2.8**

One student took courses in two different areas, accounting for this
** Represents the means of the raw data, rather than the mean of means.

Languages comprised 32 percent of the courses of study and involved

15 percent of the students. Eight of the eleven courses were in foreign

languages, and three were in English usage. The average course level of

these eleven classes was L.8, in the range of the advanced freshman


Ten courses were included within the humanities category, which

comprised 29 percent of the courses and included 23 percent of the

students. Most of the coursework in this category was done in religion

and music, represented by three courses each. The average course level

for this category of study was 2.5, or about mid-level sophomore.

Eight courses were included within the social sciences category,

which comprised 23 percent of the total courses and involved five stu-

dents, or 19 percent of the elderly student population. The major areas

of study in this category were anthropology and psychology, with three

courses each. The average course level was 2.8, in the range of the

advanced sophomore level.

Six courses are grouped together as technical skills, representing

17 percent of the total elderly coursework. The eleven students en-

rolled in technical skills courses, with eight students enrolled in one

course, comprised 42 percent of the elderly student population. Three

of the six courses in this study area were in statistics and one was in

accounting. The average course level was 5.2, or approximately the

beginning graduate level. Technical skills courses comprised only about

half as many courses as were included in the language category, but

almost three times as many students enrolled in technical skill courses

as in languages. The degree of course difficulty, as measured by the

average course level, was almost three times higher for the technical

skills courses than for the language courses. The average course level

for all 35 courses containing elderly students was 2.8, or about upper

level sophomore.

When interpreting and applying these data the reader should keep in

mind the skewing effect of the eight graduate level registrations in one

course classified as technical skills. If these eight are deleted from

the figures, there would have been five technical skills courses, repre-

senting 14 percent of the total coursework, and involving only three

students, or 12 percent of the population, with the average coursework

level at 5.0, or beginning graduate level.

What Motivations Would Be Reported By the Elderly Students for Enrolling
in a Class?

With the exception of two students, all the elderly enrollees chose

their courses of study either because of prior knowledge and interest in

the subject matter and to expand this knowledge for its own sake (n=6),

to train for future personal goals (n=8), for professional goals (n=4),

or for volunteer goals (n=5). The two exceptions were students attend-

ing classes to accompany friends. Twenty of the 25 students were former


What Would Be the Range in Educational Background of the Elderly

The extremes of educational background ranged from one student who

had not completed grade school, to another with a degree from the

Harvard School of Business and a Law degree. One was a physician and two

were former University of Florida professors. Four had recently at-

tended the University of Florida as tuition-paying students, and 15 had

recently attended a community college either as paying or nonpaying

students. One student stated that his educational level was irrelevant,

and did not report it.

What Would Be the Intended Use of the Information to Be Gained?

Five students intended to use the information in their volunteer

efforts, and four in their current employment. Personal utility was the

reason given by eight, and personal pleasure by six. The two remaining

students did not relate an intended use for the information.

Would Their Intended Goals Be Satisfied?

Eleven students felt that the information they gained during course-

work was practical and immediately beneficial in assisting them to reach

their stipulated goals. Of the five students intending to become more

efficient in their volunteer efforts following enrollment, only two felt

successful. The remaining three determined that the material taught was

not capable of practical application, and only one of these students

completed their course. All four of the students intending employment-

related goals were pleased with their educational experience. Only five

of the eight students intending personal use of the information felt

satisfied with the course, with one relating a frustration that the

course provided much more information than she needed to know. Two of

the dissatisfied students in this group felt the course had no practical

value, and the final student expressed disinterest related to a mis-

understanding of the course content (she quickly dropped the course).

Of the six registering for personal pleasure, only one was disap-

pointed, and this was because the information taught was not judged to

be linked to practical, local applications as had been anticipated. The

two remaining students attending with friends had no academic goals and

thus did not address this question.

What Learning Aids Would the Elderly Employ During Enrollment?

Of the 25 elderly students interviewed, 22 reported that the in-

formation they obtained in the course under study came directly from the

professor, textbooks, handouts, and other students in the class. Only

two of the elderly students, however, reported utilizing the University

Libraries during their coursework. Most felt either that this was un-

necessary because of the minimal academic demands placed upon them in

the normal conduct of their coursework, or that they were not authorized

to utilize the facilities, although they did not recall having been told

specifically that they were unauthorized to use them. One of the three

who did not use the library nevertheless knew that the services and

holdings of the library system were available simply by means of the

presentation of the elderly registration form, although the student did

not remember the source of this information. Although this student did

not use the facilities, she felt more secure knowing that they would be

available if needed. One of the two students who did use the library

spent the better part of each day there, either reading or studying in a

quiet, undistracted atmosphere. The student felt that the library

environment was more conducive to academic study than his home. The

second student employed the library only to resourcefully check out the

course textbook rather than to purchase it for the list price of $23.00.

What Would Be the Level of Reported Elderly-Traditional Student

Reported interactions ranged in quality from very friendly to un-

pleasant, and in quantity from frequent to none. Eleven students re-

ported a high level of friendly interaction with the younger students in

their class, with one elder stating that since he was always in class,

his notes were in high demand. Another stated that one of the biggest

pleasures in university enrollment was getting to be with the younger

students, who were, ". . extremely pleasant and polite, like the youth

of my younger days." A retired university professor stated that the

students in his classes seemed to be "less serious but more polite" than

he recalled from his teaching years. One of these students, who had

attended as a tuition-paying student before the passage of the law,

seemed distressed when questioned concerning her level of interaction

with the traditional students and stated, almost indignantly, "they

treated me as they treat each other . as students."

Six additional students reported minimal interactions, either

because of the size of the class or because of the subject matter. One

student reported no interaction, but said that this was a function of

the almost one-on-one professor-student teaching method required by the

course material. Of the seven other students who reported minimal

interaction with traditional students, six were in an off-campus course

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