Frequently Asked Questions about OLLI

Find questions to frequently asked questions about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the UA Gadsden Center.

What is OLLI?

OLLI is the acronym for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. OLLI provides intellectual, social, and cultural enrichment opportunities in a climate that fosters friendship and a mutual sharing of ideas and life experiences. OLLI offers educational courses as well as entertainment through classes, bonus sessions, field trips, socials, special events, and travel. OLLI is a year-round, member-centered, member-led, program. UA enjoys national status as one of 120 college-affiliated OLLIs across the country that receives funding from The Bernard Osher Foundation. To learn more visit

Why should I join?

Those who are actively engaged in their communities, and who continue to learn throughout their lives, feel more productive and purposeful, and are healthier and happier. Members share common bonds of intellectual curiosity and the experience of their generation. They are self-motivated learners, eager to share opinions, knowledge, and expertise with humor and mutual respect. OLLI offers opportunities to meet new friends, make contacts, and develop connections.

OLLI member at a deskWhat are the requirements to join?

There are none. Anyone can become a member.

Where are the classes held?

Most of our classes are held at the UA Gadsden Center building unless otherwise noted in the catalog.

Where do I park?

If you are attending a class at the Gadsden Center, parking is free and first come, first served.  Handicapped parking is available, but limited.  Let us know if you need assistance by calling (256) 546-2886.

What does OLLI participation cost?

OLLI is a membership-based organization. Our membership year is from September 1 – August 31. Members pay an annual membership fee of $25. This fee allows members to participate in bonus sessions, socials, field trips and travel opportunities. An additional $50/semester registration fee is required for class participation. Some programs or events may carry an additional fee due to materials, travel, or other cost requirements. Scholarships are available. For more information refer to our website.

Do I have to register every semester?

Yes. Although most courses do not have a registration deadline, please register as early as possible to ensure your seat will be reserved. Many sessions fill quickly.

May I bring a guest?

Enthusiasm for our program is contagious. We encourage every member to tell friends about OLLI and invite them to our bonus sessions and open house. You may bring a friend who has never attended any OLLI: Gadsden program as a one-time guest to any class.

How can I offer suggestions for courses?

We want your recommendations. Please include them on your emailed evaluations. All suggestions are then provided to the Curriculum Committee for review. In the meantime, if you have suggestions for a lecture or instructor, please inform the staff.

OLLI members in a classDoes OLLI have volunteer opportunities?

It takes a lot of hard work from our volunteers to make OLLI at UA a success. We are constantly seeking volunteers to help with our various committees. Some areas that you can be involved in are curriculum, socials, greeters, photography, social media, membership, instructors, facilitators, fundraising, and marketing. If you would like to participate, please contact us.

Who are the instructors?

Our instructors include university faculty, both active and retired, community educators and leaders, and our OLLI members.

Does the schedule ever change?

Yes, so please be sure we have your correct email address and telephone number on file in the OLLI office. Courses are scheduled months in advance. Due to circumstances beyond our control, class dates, instructors, times, and locations are sometimes subject to change. We will make every effort possible to notify you, in advance, about schedule or instructor changes. In the case of inclement weather, we abide by The University of Alabama weather instructions. If The University of Alabama is closed, OLLI is closed. Please watch your local news for school closings.

Can I get a refund?

Annual dues and semester registrations are non-refundable. If there is a class fee and you cancel within fourteen days of the class, you qualify for a refund of that fee. You will need to call registration at (205) 348-3000 and officially cancel your attendance.

How do I join?

Registration may be completed online at You may also complete a registration form and mail it to OLLI Registration, Box 870388, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 or call the registration office at (205) 348-3000 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

How may I donate to OLLI?

Your donations are needed. Many individual's finances may limit their participation in lifelong learning activities. Therefore, people like you help with financial gifts. Your tax-deductible donation can not only assist someone in membership but also help with other expenses as well as potential growth. You might even consider underwriting our receptions, lodging, meals, adding to our endowment fund or remembering OLLI in your trust or will. Please help to support OLLI in all of our fundraising initiatives. For information regarding the appropriate philanthropic path for you, please contact the OLLI office.

How do I contact OLLI?

For OLLI questions, please call the office at (256) 546-2886. For OLLI enrollment, please call registration at (205) 348-3000.