GOLF, TENNIS, AND WARM weather may always be the primary allure for retirees, but over the past few years, many of the nation's colleges have been working with local developers to build retirement villages that offer seniors the educational, social, and cultural trappings of college life.

Leon Pastalan, director of the National Center on Housing and Living Arrangements for Older Americans at the University of Michigan, says at least 60 university-based retirement communities are already operating or are about to be developed, or the schools are seriously looking at bringing in such housing.

“Life has to be more than golf and tennis,” says Pastalan, adding that colleges and universities have an obligation to extend the mission of education beyond 18- to 22-year-olds.

One of the models recognized nationally is The Village at Penn State, which broke ground in February 2002 and now has 150 occupied units in State College, Pa., about one mile from the Penn State University campus.

Carol Herrmann, vice president of Pinnacle Development, which took the lead on the project, says of the 150 units, 138 are 1,200-square-foot apartments and the other 12 are cottages, roughly 1,600 to 1,800 square feet. The apartments range from $147,000 to $275,000. The cottages start at $350,000. Residents must be 62 or over—the average age is 78. About 70 percent of the residents are affiliated with Penn State in some way. Residents can take advantage of special lectures, concerts, and, of special note, transportation to Penn State football games.

Pastalan says other colleges with similar retirement villages include Notre Dame, the University of Michigan, and Ithaca College.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: State College, PA.