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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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About courses

What type of courses do you run?

Click here to view the wide range of courses we offer in the following categories:

  • Arts and Film
  • Computers and Digital Technology
  • Current Affairs
  • English Language and Literature
  • History
  • Languages;
  • Music
  • Philosophy and Religion
  • Recreational
  • Science, Health and Environment
  • Social and Behavioural Sciences

The actual courses on offer depend on the topics that Course Leaders put forward. U3A does not commission or solicit the development or provision of courses in any subject matter area.

How much work is involved in an average course?

Most courses meet for two hours each week.

The amount of additional work required will vary from course to course. For example, language and music courses will require some practice between classes, whereas public affairs and other discussion groups may require less preparation. Some courses may require you to do homework and/or pre-reading each week.

You should check with Course Leaders before enrolling on the amount of additional work expected. Of course, you can do as much private study and research as you like to supplement the classes.

Do courses have prerequisites? Do I need prior knowledge?

Most courses do not have prerequisites, and where they do it is usually clearly stated in the course description in the U3A Course Listing. Some courses – particularly ongoing language courses, music courses or orchestras – may require a certain level of proficiency in order to join the class. The Course Leader will let you know when you enquire and/or enrol in the course.

Are there exams?

Luckily no. Our courses are all about the pleasure of learning, with none of the stresses of the formal education system. However, some Course Leaders may use revision exercises as part of their courses, and may collect and mark homework tasks. This is a normal part of the teaching and learning process, and not an examination or grading process.

Are there awards for study? Can I get a degree or other qualification?

We do not offer any qualifications or awards for any of the courses we present.

And although we have an agreement with the University of Canberra which allows our members to arrange to "audit" a range of their units, you will not receive any academic credit for these courses either.

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What do courses cost?

Before you can enrol in any courses you need to join U3A. Current annual fees are:

  • Single Membership - $40
  • Joint Membership - $70
  • Additional (Joint) Member - $30

In addition, courses charge a small fee to cover room hire, photocopying, morning/afternoon tea provisions etc. For courses run in clubs, you may be required to join the club at a small annual cost. The fee charged will vary from course to course, and is clearly identified in the course details which members can find by using the Find a Course facility.

Where are classes held?

Courses are held across Canberra (and a small number outside the ACT). Course Leaders largely determine where courses will be held. Over half of our courses are run in U3A venues - the Hughes Community Centre, the Cook Community Hub and the Flynn Community Hub. The remainder of our courses are held in community venues such as clubs, church halls, community centres and private homes.

How many courses can I enrol in?

Members should not try to attend more than three courses at a time. We suggest this because demand for courses exceeds supply, particularly in the more popular courses, the limiting factor being Course Leaders willing to put in the huge voluntary effort to prepare and present a course.

Limiting your participation to not more than three courses at a time would provide more opportunities for others to not be disappointed when they try to enrol.

Similarly, not putting your name down for two courses in the same time slot provides more opportunities for others to be enrolled in courses they would like to join.

We also ask that members be firm in their commitment to attend each week, as many classes have long waiting lists.

Why is there so much variation between fees for courses?

Courses are run in different venues and for different durations. Some have lots of handouts, some include a charge for refreshments. Courses held in rooms at Cook, Flynn and Hughes have a rental charge, and course members pay a subsidised rate of $2.00 per week, payable in advance for the whole course, or at least the first term or semester. Courses in clubs usually require you to take out membership of that club.

Our policy is that fees will be paid in full by the second week of a course, and are not negotiable. There are no discounts or special consideration with fees. For courses longer than 12 weeks, fees can be paid by term or semester, at the Course Leader's discretion. The Course Leader sets the fees to cover the expenses of the course. The fees may include the cost of morning or afternoon tea provisions, if members of the class are willing to organise this.

Does U3A offer anything other than courses?

Yes. Click on the Activities link above to see the other events that U3A organises.

Membership

How can I join?

The quickest way to join U3A is to apply for membership online here.

Or you can download and print an application form here. If you don't have access to a printer, forms are available from U3A's Hughes or Cook offices. Please refer to the application form for membership fee and pay options.

How much does it cost to join U3A-ACT?

Current annual membership fees are:

  • Single Membership - $40
  • Joint Membership - $70
  • Additional (Joint) Member $30

In addition, courses charge a small fee to cover room hire, photocopying, morning/afternoon tea provisions etc. For courses run in clubs, you may be required to join the club at a small annual cost. The fee charged will vary from course to course, and is clearly identified in the course details which members can find by using the Find a Course facility.

Can my companion living at the same address be my partner for U3A membership?

Yes; and each member can record their individual email address and mobile number if they want.

How can I pay for my U3A membership?

Online
By credit card (Visa & Mastercard only) and debit cards which do not require a PIN. All payments are via a secure gateway. U3A- ACT does not retain any of your credit or debit card details.

At U3A Offices in Hughes or Cook - In person or by phone
By credit card (Visa & Mastercard only), debit cards which do not require a PIN, cash or cheque.

Can I join at any time of the year?

Our membership year runs from 1 January to 31 December.

If you join during the first 9 months of the year (January - September), your membership will expire on 31 December of the same year.

If you join during the last 3 months of the year (October - December), your membership will run until 31 December of the following year.

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Can I be assured that my privacy will be protected once I become a member of U3A?

U3A takes the privacy of member information very seriously. We take all possible precautions to ensure that your personal details are protected – name, address and contact information. We do not keep credit card details. We have security provisions built into our website and these are regularly checked. In the unlikely event of an illegal access to our online records (including hacking) we will advise members as a matter of urgency and we will involve the police quickly.

U3A does not provide member information or contact details to any other person unless permission has been granted.

While members may write credit card details on their membership application or renewal form, we do not encourage this practice to minimise the possibility of theft of credit card details..

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Will U3A release my information without my approval?

U3A does not provide member information contact details to any other person unless permission has been granted.

When members join or renew online, their credit card details are handled through a payment gateway which uses the strictest security protocols.

Can I be a member of another U3A at the same time as being a member of U3A in Canberra?

Yes, you are welcome to hold membership in more than one U3A but be aware that you will need to join, pay and renew separately as each organisation is separately run. At this time there are no reciprocal arrangements between the different U3A organisations. A number of members of U3A Canberra also hold membership with U3A in Batemans Bay, for example.

How is U3A run?

What is the legal status of U3A-ACT?

U3A-ACT is an incorporated body under ACT law. Its constitution (Objects and Rules of U3A-ACT Incorporated) can be found at the link below.

Its policies are on our website Policies, By-Laws and Procedures page here.

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Who is in charge of U3A?

U3A is entirely organised and run by its members.

We hold an annual general meeting in November and elect a committee to run the organisation. We have one standing sub-committee, the Courses Sub-Committee, that is responsible for our courses activity. Other sub-committees and working groups are formed from time to time to manage specific tasks.

We welcome your comments and feedback via the U3A ACT Facebook site.