LIRA participant with student scholarship winner

Learning in Retirement Association

The Learning in Retirement Association (LIRA) is a multi-faceted educational program for the retired and semi-retired, for which there are neither educational nor age requirements.

The Learning in Retirement Association’s philosophy is to provide, at a modest cost, college-level learning experiences for all its members, regardless of previous educational background. 

LIRA was founded in 1988 by Mark Levine, director of Community Services at UMass Lowell at the time. The program is sponsored by the university’s Office of Community Relations, which provides space and administrative and office support. More than 240 similar associations exist on college campuses across the nation, representing more than 62,000 individual members. 

LIRA is an academic program, designed by its own members to suit their interests. Emphasis is on the collaborative and active member participation. 

LIRA provides more than classes and social activities – it links its members to a community beyond the classroom and offers a new world of opportunities. 

Road Scholar, formerly the Elderhostel Institute Network, has a listing of all the Lifelong Learning programs in the U.S. Listen to a WCAP interview by Teddy Panos with LIRA's Toby Hodes, from Sept. 24, 2013, where Toby discusses everything you need to know about LIRA.