Education: Learning for the Aged

"What are you doing for us?" the old man demanded of Bruce Bauer, director of community services for North Hennepin State Junior College in suburban Minneapolis. The answer was simple: nothing. Unlike most community colleges, however, North Hennepin decided to offer tuition-free courses specifically designed for the elderly, including, for a start, seminars on lip reading, physical fitness and organizing for "senior power." The response was spectacular. Expecting only 100, the college enrolled about 400—some on crutches, others in wheelchairs.

That was last year. By this summer, North Hennepin had some 800...