What does it mean to be a University-Based Retirement Community?


The traditional narrative around aging in America suggests that retirement is a time to wind down. It is a time to step back from the workforce, and therefore pause your education, professional development, or efforts to gain new skills.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Today’s generations of older adults, in particular, are highly educated; many from the “Silent Generation” attended college on the GI Bill, and nearly 60% of Baby Boomers have some college experience. As a result, numerous surveys show that both generations share a common interest in active, intellectually stimulating, and most of all, intergenerational, retirement environments.

This desire for a new model of retirement that champions intellectual stimulation and intergenerational relationships gave rise to a new approach to retirement living: University-Based Retirement Communities (URBCs). A relatively new concept, the term URBC was coined in 2004 by Andrew Carle, professor in the George Mason University Program in Assisted Living and Senior Housing Administration, who established a five-criteria model detailing what it means to be a UBRC. Carle has received national and international recognition for his work in the senior living industry.

In fact, of the 2,000-plus continuing care retirement communities in the United States today, less than 10% are bona fide URBCs, according to a report by the University of Central Florida.

Broadview at Purchase College is proud to meet all five of the UBRC criteria, as outlined by Carle.

Criteria 1. A location with an accessible distance (preferably one mile or less) of core campus facilities, such as theaters, sports complexes, and classrooms.

At Broadview, we know that the ability to access and feel a part of the campus is crucial for retirees. While many retirement communities in the US tout their affiliation with academic institutions in their marketing materials, few of these communities are actually located within walking distance to campus facilities, making daily access unrealistic.

Located in the heart of the Purchase College, SUNY campus, Broadview residents will be able to easily access all the college has to offer, including on-site conservatories, , as well as attend exhibitions, performances, and cultural and sporting events. The design for Broadview includes a unique Learning Commons space that will serve as a multipurpose gathering area within Broadview for students and residents to meet and exchange views, learn from one another, and develop genuine intergenerational relationships.

Criteria 2. Formalized programming that ensures integration between community residents and university students, faculty, and staff.

To be considered a UBRC, such programing must be documented, and university involvement must be “inbound” to the community in order to foster a truly intergenerational environment.

Purchase College already has a robust senior auditing program, and Broadview calls upon the success of that program and amplifies it. As a part of the Purchase College community, Broadview residents will have myriad opportunities to engage in academic, cultural, and social activities that span the generations. They may audit or enroll in Purchase courses – ensuring that students retain the first priority for courses – teach classes to fellow residents, enjoy full access to college amenities, and attend exhibitions and performances at the renowned Neuberger Museum of Art and The Performing Arts Center. Shared spaces such as the Learning Commons, dining areas, classrooms, and more, will further encourage intergenerational interaction and friendships among residents, students, and faculty.

Criteria 3. Inclusion of the full continuum of senior housing services, including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and dementia care, as needed.

Although no one wants to dwell on it, the reality is that independent living can become compromised at any moment by health events. It is therefore critical that all UBRCs provide a continuum of care that can adapt to meet the changing needs of seniors as required on a case-by-case basis.

Broadview is committed to providing top-quality, person-centered care that is catered to meet each resident’s unique and evolving health care needs. All on-site senior health services at Broadview will be managed by Life Care Services, a nationally recognized, award-winning leader in the senior living industry. Their strong reputation as a sponsor and developer of top-rated communities guarantees Broadview residents access to quality, personalized care.

Broadview residents who opt for Independent Senior Living will secure priority access to comprehensive, on-site senior health care. In the event that a greater level of care is needed, residents will have access to Broadview’s first-in-class enhanced assisted and memory care living facilities, which are connected by a convenient indoor walkway to Broadview’s independent living community service spaces and apartment homes.

Criteria 4. A documented financial relationship between the university and the senior housing provider.

A documented financial relationship does not require that the academic institution own the UBRC , however, a strong financial linkage ensures that both parties are truly invested in the long-term, interdependent success of the community.

Broadview has entered into a 75year ground lease of the 40-acre parcel of land on the Purchase College, SUNY campus.

The terms of the ground lease agreement require that 75% of the rent Broadview pays to secure the land lease will be used to support scholarship funds for Purchase students, and the remaining 25% will be used to provide additional full-time faculty support, both of which greatly enhance Purchase College’s ability to offer an excellent academic experience for its students.

Criteria 5. Communities should target and document that at least 10% of their residents have some connection to the university, either as alumni, retired faculty, or staff (or family of the same).

For URBCs across the country, having alumi, faculty, and staff of the school reside in the community is critical to bring the culture and feel of the academic institution into everyday life. Purchase encourages all members of the campus community to Think Wide Open, which is the college’s motto. This motto is precisely why the name “Broadview” was chosen for this retirement community. By creating a corhort of Broadview residents from a mix of undergraduate alumni, retired faculty members, and folks who are new to the SUNY system is the greatest way to ensure the people who will soon call the Purchase College community their home, do so while honoring and upholding this motto in their day-to-day lives.

While Broadview currently has only a small number of Charter Member’s that meet this criteria, the number is expected to grow as more alumni from the college reach retirement age and begin to explore options for the next chapter. Even more, Broadview will soon be home to over 20 retired faculty who hail from colleges and universities across the US, including Lee Schlesinger, Associate Professor of Literature, Emeritus, from Purchase College. Lee first came to Purchase College in 1975, and after a 46-year long career on the Purchase campus, in 2021 Lee decided to make Broadview his forever home. If you ask him why, he will proudly say:

“That after so many years here I embraced the opportunity to stay tells you something of my sense of, and feeling towards, Purchase College. This is an extraordinary place, and a place that keeps expanding the parameters of what it means to be extraordinary. It is imaginative. It examines itself and asks tough questions.”