What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?

California businessman Bernard Osher created the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco in 1977, focusing on education and health care. The foundation collaborates with university programs nationwide to offer intellectually stimulating, affordable, non-credit learning opportunities in community settings. The Bernard Osher Foundation has set up Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs at 121 universities and colleges.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal Poly Humboldt College of Extended Education & Global Engagement (OLLI at Humboldt) is an innovative program of specially-designed short classes with no exams or grades, and a focus on learners who are aged 50 or better. OLLI at Humboldt offers programming, education, and connections through classes, presentations, and group meetings available to everyone in the community. 

Anyone can be an OLLI at Humboldt member, and membership comes with some surprisingly great benefits. Members get priority registration and reduced class fees with early notification on events and presentations, and shared opportunities with other OLLI programs nationwide. Membership entitles a person to help choose the topics for classes, while also receiving Cal Poly Humboldt student privileges and benefits.

Since 2005, OLLI at Humboldt has provided active lifelong learning courses and events. The success and growth of OLLI is a reflection of the spirit of our university, the incredible community of OLLI members, volunteers, faculty, and the Friends of OLLI.

What do you mean by membership? What are the benefits?

Membership is the measurement used by the Bernard Osher Foundation to check on the health of its endowment-funded programs. To keep funding OLLI at Humboldt, the minimum level of membership Osher expects is 1,000 new and returning members each year. 

It is our goal to exceed that number each year.

Memberships cost $35, and start fresh each year on July 1, but you can join anytime. However, we cannot prorate a membership, and it ends on June 30, regardless of the date you joined. Each membership counts towards the goal.

OLLI at Humboldt membership comes with some great benefits. Members get priority registration and reduced class fees with early notification on events and presentations, and shared opportunities with other Osher programs nationwide. Members receive many Cal Poly Humboldt student privileges and benefits. OLLI members also become part of a learning community where they get to actively choose the types of classes they want, attend special events designed just for them, and have the option of proposing to teach a class in which they have special academic or professional expertise.

In addition to supporting Lifelong Learning in our community, a $35 per year OLLI membership entitles you to:

  • Early notification and priority registration in classes and events.
  • Discounted $25 per course fee (which is added when nonmembers enroll).
  • a Cal Poly Humboldt student email account and Humboldt Student ID, allowing access to most Library services.
  • Opportunity to purchase a Jack Pass (with enrollment in a fee-based class).
  • Eligibility for course scholarships.
  • Access to the university recreation center (for an additional fee).
  • Option to participate in OLLI Special Interest Groups.
  • Student discounts at area businesses.

See more details about membership benefits and join OLLI today!

Can people who aren't members take classes?

Anyone over the age of 18 may register for an OLLI class; however, nonmembers must pay $25 additional fee per class. Up until the week before the class begins, nonmembers may be dropped from the class if space is limited and members wish to enroll. OLLI members have first priority registration for classes.

May I sign up for OLLI online?

Yes, you may use the online registration form to join, renew, and register for OLLI classes.

You may also download and print out the registration form (PDF), attach payment and send to us (with check or credit card information).

If you are having any trouble with online registration access, email olli@humboldt.edu or call the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement at 707-826-5880.

What kinds of classes are offered?

OLLI classes change each semester. Class subjects can be any of the following categories: Art, Culinary, Current Events, Economics, Film, Health, History, Language & Culture, Leisure Activities, Literature, Mathematics, Mind & Heart, Music, Poetry, Political Science, Science & Environment, Technology, Travel, and Writing.

Where are classes held? What about parking?

OLLI classes are held in-person and online.

In-person classes are held face-to-face in a university classroom or an off-campus instructional space, or is a class that includes a field trip. A release of liability form is required for all field trip classes and some physical activity classes.

For classes that require a Cal Poly Humboldt campus parking permit, a permit is included with your registration. After you register for a class, watch your email for the class enrollment confirmation, which provides instructions and a parking code. You may pick up your permit at a parking pay station before you park. See campus maps.

Online classes are delivered 100% online, in real time, via Zoom, a web-based video conferencing service. Video recordings may be available if a registered student misses a class meeting.

When do classes start?

OLLI classes start just after the Cal Poly Humboldt semester begins for fall and spring. Keep an eye on this website to see what's happening during the summer. You can also ask to be on the mailing list to receive the OLLI at Humboldt course catalog. OLLI at Humboldt also announces news on its Facebook page.

I heard there might be scholarships available to members. How can I get one?

A limited number of partial scholarships for classes are available to OLLI at Humboldt members only.

See more information on the Scholarships page.

Who are the instructors? How do I become an instructor?

OLLI instructors are experts from the community and current or retired faculty. If you are interested in becoming an OLLI instructor, contact OLLI at Humboldt at 707-826-3713. Learn more about submitting a proposal here.

What are other ways I can get involved in OLLI?

There are several ways to volunteer for OLLI. Join the OLLI advisory committee or the OLLI curriculum committee. You could also become a classroom assistant.

Or maybe you would like to be an OLLI ambassador, by sharing your OLLI experiences with others.

Also, if you have specific skills that could be shared with OLLI, like organizing social events, writing articles or blogs, taking photographs, etc., your talents and skills could be valuable to OLLI.

To discuss your volunteer options, call 707-826-5880 or email the OLLI staff.

Another way to involve yourself in OLLI is to join or start a Special Interest Group. See a list of all the Special Interest Groups.

See VOLUNTEER for details and to download the OLLI Volunteer Application.

How do I contact OLLI staff?

If you have registration or membership questions, call 707-826-5880 or email olli@humboldt.edu.

The OLLI Office is open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (closed noon-1 p.m. for lunch).

Note that office hours will change for the month of July: Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (closed 12-1) and Fri., 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

For other questions, concerns or suggestions, email:
or call 707-826-3743

Mailing address:

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
College of Extended Education & Global Engagement
Cal Poly Humboldt
1 Harpst St.
Arcata, CA 95521-8299

FAX: 707-826-5885

The OLLI website is maintained by the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement. If you have questions or concerns about website content, please email OLLI.

I signed up for a class with a field trip. Why do I need to complete a Release of Liability form?

Some OLLI classes include field trips or physical activities with inherent risks. In order for you to participate in one of these classes, you must complete a Release of Liability form at least one week prior to the first class you attend.

If you have any questions about the Release of Liability form, please call OLLI at 707-826-5880 or email olli@humboldt.edu.

How do I access my Cal Poly Humboldt student account? How can I get Cal Poly Humboldt email?

As an OLLI member, you are assigned a Cal Poly Humboldt account with a unique user name, and you are issued a Humboldt email address, which is your user name plus "@humboldt.edu."

Once activated, your Humboldt email account gives you access to the Student Center via myHumboldt, and is the main link for communication with Cal Poly Humboldt services and announcements.

Here is how to locate your assigned Humboldt user name:

1. Go to the Cal Poly Humboldt website.

2. Click on "quicklinks" at the top of the page.

3. Select "Students" under "Directories" (fourth item down)

4. In the Directory Search box that opens, type the last name under which you registered.

5. Find your name on the list. Your Humboldt user name is to the right of your name in the column labeled "Email." Your user name will consist of your initials and some numbers.

6. Once you have your Humboldt user name, you can set-up or change your account password at humboldt.edu/verify. If you need to retrieve an authorization code or get help with resetting your password over the phone, the Humboldt Help Desk can assist you. Call the Help Desk at 707-826-4357, Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from noon-10 p.m., or email the Help Desk.

For further information, see the Student Center Help Site. If you need help accessing your account, please contact the Help Desk at 707-826-4357.

Can I give an OLLI membership as a gift? Can I give a gift certificate for OLLI classes?

OLLI gift certificates are perfect for that friend or family member who has everything. Share your love of learning and support the work of Humboldt OLLI by buying your loved one an OLLI membership gift certificate, which is good for the OLLI membership year. You can also get a gift certificate in any amount, toward OLLI classes, for a loved one who is already a member. Call 707-826-5880 to learn more.

If I'm already in the Over 60 program – does that mean I'm automatically in the OLLI program too? Or that I get a discount on OLLI classes?

While anyone may be in both programs at the same time – they are separate and require different registration processes. The funding for them comes from different sources, so discounts are not available.

How is OLLI different from the Over 60 Program at Cal Poly Humboldt?

In the Over 60 Program, participants are over 60 years of age and take regular, semester academic classes at Cal Poly Humboldt for credit, taught by Cal Poly Humboldt faculty.


  • Members are generally 50 years old or better.
  • Members choose classes matching their intellectual interests and life experience.
  • Classes are taught by current or retired faculty and community members sharing their expertise.
  • No grades are given.
  • Classes are approximately 2-6 weeks long.