FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Please note that these FAQs may not apply while Covid 19 rules are in force.

How large an organization is U3A Central Coast?
The current membership is approximately 700.
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Who can join?
While most members are those who are no longer working full time and are either retired or nearing retirement, there are no real restrictions on membership for others who are able to attend courses.
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What does it cost to be a member?
The  annual membership fee is $50.  The membership year runs from 1st December to 30th November but you may join at any time.  The year is divided into semesters, from January to end of June and July to late November.
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What does my $50 annual membership fee entitle me to?
This fee entitles you to apply to join up to FIVE courses in each of the two semesters, a total of ten courses, plus unlimited Forums previously known as ‘One Day Specials’. You also receive the U3A Central Coast Newsletter and can attend any additional functions (socials, trips) held during the year. You are also entitled to vote at the Annual General Meeting.
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How many courses are there to choose from?
Currently, more than 70 courses are held during each semester, covering a wide range of interests.
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When are courses held?
Nearly all courses are held in the daytime on weekdays and occasionally on Saturday.   Theatre and dining and other outings may also be held at night or on weekends.
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How long are U3A courses?
Courses may run for as long as all of a semester (about 5 months) or, according to the leader’s wishes and the type of course, for as short a time as only 2 sessions. Most courses are somewhere in between these two periods.  Some of the courses are ‘one day specials’, otherwise known as ‘forums’.
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How frequently are meetings held?
Some groups meet every week, many every fortnight, and a few only monthly.
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How long are sessions in U3A courses?
There is no set length but most sessions go for about one and a half or two hours.
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How do I know if courses are being held close to my home?
Venues are well spread out, from Woy Woy to Tuggerah.  You can see the courses  that are currently being held or look at the Course Booklet for all the courses offered over the semester. If you look on-line you will see that the courses available are organised according to the days of the week and category of course and the venue also being listed. This allows you to choose courses according to days you have available or according to your interests and home location.
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How do I enrol in a class?
If you have an email address, as a member you will have a member number which you will use together with a password to login to enrol on line on the administration system MyU3A which is accessed from this web site.  You can also apologise online if you find you are unable to attend a class or withdraw from a class if it is no longer suitable.
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How sure am I of getting into the courses I apply for?
There is no guarantee that you will get into all of the courses you apply for.  It is first come, first served.  Some leaders and courses are more popular than places available.  Members who enrol online can see immediately if places are available and if they have been successful in gaining a place, although it is worthwhile adding your request to the waiting list of a course if it is full.   
Members without an email address need to apply personally or by phone or direct to the leader to be enrolled or waitlisted in a course.   Members with an email address have the advantage of easy notification of changes, if any, to the course.

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How many are in each group?
This depends on the sort of course. Ones involving a leader talking to a group, simply presenting material, may have 40 or more in the audience. Those involving discussion and interaction, or involving materials such as paints, etc, may be limited to 20 or fewer.
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What are U3A meetings like?
There is no single answer to this question. It depends on the type of course and, to some extent, the personality of the leader. The common factor in most U3A meetings is a friendly and relaxed social atmosphere, where participants of similar age enjoy learning together.
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How qualified are the leaders of U3A Central Coast?
A person needs no formal academic or other qualifications to lead a group, just a special interest or knowledge that they are willing to share with others.
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How do I become a leader?
You may apply to the Committee or the Course Leader Coordinator to lead a course and, assuming the course is considered suitable and worthwhile for members, it can be scheduled in the next available semester.
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Can I be a volunteer?
The answer is a resounding ‘YES’.  U3A can only run with the help of volunteers. Volunteers can be leaders or presenters,  accept a position on the committee, assist with data entry, with packaging and posting, and a host of other tasks which are required from time to time.  Please indicate your willingness.
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What happens to the fee I pay?
Most money collected in fees goes towards the hiring of halls, rooms, etc for classes and meetings. Other costs include postage, printing Course Booklets, Newsletters and material for individual courses. All members of U3A, including the Committee members, are volunteers and receive no pay.
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Are there any additional fees besides the $50?
Most courses charge a nominal fee for the cost of morning/afternoon tea ($1 or $2 per meeting) and a small charge for handouts if applicable.
Occasionally a course that is quite expensive to run, or which requires special materials, may need to charge an extra amount but information about this appears in the Course Booklet so members are aware of it beforehand.
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Are there any exams?
There are no exams.  Each person can delve into the topic as much or as little as they wish  for their satisfaction.
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Is there a privacy policy?
U3A Central Coast collects personal information from members for organisational, communication, emergency and insurance purposes only. This information will not be provided to any third-party individuals or organisations without the consent of the member.
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What if I change my mind about being a member?
Once you have joined or rejoined as a member of U3A Central Coast and paid your membership fee, there is no refund available, unless there are exceptional circumstances to be decided by the Committee, upon receipt of the request in writing.
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