The Center for Lifelong Learning (Center or CLL) is an organization dedicated to providing continuing learning opportunities to adults in Aiken and the surrounding Central Savannah River Area (CSRA).

The Center is associated with the Office of External Programs, Continuing Education, and Conferences at the University of South Carolina Aiken. The university provides support, administrative services, and physical facilities to the Center, which pays a per student fee to the university. Most classes are held on campus; occasionally large classes will be held at other venues and some classes have off-campus field trips.

The Center was formed by the merger of two long-standing organizations associated with USCA: the Academy for Lifelong Learning (founded 1989) and the McGrath Computer Learning Center (founded 1999). The merger became effective July 1, 2021. There was a formal public announcement and signing of the merger agreement at a launch meeting held July 23, 2021, on the campus of USC Aiken.

The two predecessor organizations shared a common goal of adult learning, but each had a different focus. The Academy traditionally offered lecture classes on diverse, general interest subjects such as local history, general history, the arts, religions, health, exercise, travel, authors and books, and many others. McGrath traditionally offered hands-on classes on using personal technology such as PCs (and using apps such as Word and Excel with them), Macs (and using apps specific to them), smartphones, iPads, TV streaming, computer security, and many others. The Center continues these courses, now called General Interest courses (former Academy courses) and Technology courses (former McGrath courses).

To learn more about the history of the Academy and McGrath, please go to our history page.

The mission of the Center for Lifelong Learning is to provide both structured and informal learning opportunities for adults in the CSRA. These opportunities include lecture classes, technology classes, field trips, and social events. Any adult may become a member of the Center and take advantage of these opportunities. Our members share a common interest in continued learning experiences and intellectual stimulation. The goal is to learn and have fun. There are no tests or grades.

The Center is managed by member volunteers and we are always looking for new volunteers to bring fresh ideas.

While the Center is associated with USC Aiken, it is self-supporting. Our courses and activities are planned and implemented by our members. We design our own curriculum and use instructors from USC Aiken faculty (current and retired), from our own membership, and from experts in the community.

The day-to-day activities of the Center are managed by a governing board staffed by member volunteers. That board interfaces with the university to coordinate resources and find classrooms for the classes. In addition, there are many volunteers who work together to choose classes to be offered and to locate instructors for those classes.

Our fees enable us to offer classes and events. To participate in any Center for Lifelong Learning class or event, a membership fee of $35 per semester is required. The membership fee helps us to pay a per-student fee to USC Aiken for the use of the classrooms and for administrative support. This fee also enables us to sponsor occasional social events for members. Each class that you register for will have a small additional cost based on the number of times the class meets. Fees charged for the classes allow us to pay the instructors and other base costs. Occasionally there may be an extra charge for materials related to the class; these will be noted in the catalog description.

If you want to learn more about the Center, come to our Open House held twice a year. You may also call 803–641–3741 or email info@aikenlearning.org with your questions.