11 Scholarship And Grants For Adults Going Back To School – Forbes Advisor

11 Scholarship And Grants For Adults Going Back To School – Forbes Advisor

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Scholarships aren’t just for recent high school graduates—there are millions of dollars worth of scholarships and grants for anyone that wants to go to college, no matter your age. As an adult student, you’re eligible for a lot more financial aid than you might think.

Financial Aid for Adult Students

There’s no age limit to receiving federal financial aid, including federal grants or student loans. As long as you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and renew it each year, you’re on track to qualify for federal financial aid.

In addition, many privately offered scholarships and grants don’t require applicants to be a certain age. While some may offer awards specifically for teenagers or high school seniors, many organizations only require that you are enrolled in a higher education program.

There are also private scholarships and grants that specifically target older or returning students. Plus, adults may have additional options to fund their education, such as employer-sponsored tuition assistance.

Regardless of how you plan to pay for school, make sure you complete the FAFSA to see how much federal financial aid you’re eligible for before venturing out to get other scholarships and grants.

6 Scholarships for Adults Returning to College

Scholarships tend to be awarded based on merit, while grants are often based on need. However, many nonprofits, private companies and other organizations use the terms interchangeably. Before discrediting an award based on the term it uses, read about it first. You might find you’re eligible for the award regardless of how it’s classified.

1. Ford Opportunity Program Scholarship

The Ford Opportunity Program scholarship is specifically targeted toward parents of any age or students 25 years of age and older. You must be pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and your expected family contribution (EFC) can’t be more than $10,000.

The award covers 90% of the cost of attendance but is only good for residents and students in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. Up to 96 renewable scholarships are awarded annually.

2. Executive Women International Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST)

The ASIST scholarship is awarded to adult students going through a transition period in their lives, whether it’s physical, social or economic. Applicants must be pursuing a certification program or an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree.

The award ranges from $2,000 to $10,000, and you’ll need to first apply at the local level through one of the organization’s 34 chapters to qualify.

3. Return2College Scholarship

Anyone over the age of 17 who is planning to enroll in the upcoming school year can qualify for the $1,000 Return2College award. There is no maximum age limit.

The only requirement for this scholarship is to complete a short form, answering the question “Why are you getting your degree?” in three sentences.

4. Job-Applications.com Working Parent College Scholarship

Employed parents who are enrolled in a college, trade school or similarly accredited program could be eligible for the Working Parent scholarship. To qualify, you must have at least a 3.0 GPA and work a minimum of 12 hours per week. Applicants are required to fill out a short form and submit a 600-1,000 word essay explaining how they balance parenting, working and studying.

5. College JumpStart Scholarship

Adult learners can apply to the College JumpStart Scholarship, an annual $1,000 award that’s based on applicants’ merits and accomplishments. According to the organization, “the main requirement is that you are committed to going to school and can express your goals for getting a higher education.”

The application process is simple—just complete a short form and include a 250-word statement explaining your educational goals.

6. Boomer Benefits Scholarship

Adults aged 50 or older can qualify for the Boomer Benefits scholarship, which offers two $2,500 awards annually. You’ll need a GPA of 3.0 or higher and must be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible, and you’ll need to include a statement describing your career goals and experience with community service.

5 Grants for Adult Students

The majority of grants are given out based on need, although some have other eligibility requirements.

1. Jeannette Rankin National Scholar Grant

The Jeannette Rankin National Scholar grant is specifically for women and nonbinary students aged 35 years and older with low income. You can apply whether you’re attending a four-year institution or a technical school. The award is renewable for up to five years and provides unrestricted non-tuition funding.

2. Imagine America Adult Skills Education Program

You must be at least 19 years of age to qualify for the Adult Skills Education program (there’s no maximum age). As long as you’re enrolled in an eligible career or vocational training program, you can apply to win up to $1,000.

3. Patsy Mink Education Support Award

Every year, five $5,000 scholarships are awarded to mothers at least 17 years of age at any level of postsecondary education, including technical and vocational schools. To apply for the Education Support award, you’ll need to provide income documentation to prove you’re low-income. Winners are selected based on ​financial need, personal circumstance, educational path, vocational or occupational goals, and service or activist goals.

4. Soroptimist ​​Live Your Dream Award

If you’re a woman and the primary financial support for your dependent children, partner or other relatives, you might qualify for this award. Winners are awarded $1,000, $5,000 or $16,000 to cover education-related costs for undergraduate degrees, including childcare costs.

5. Federal grants

Federal grants like the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) are both offered to students regardless of age. The Pell Grant maxes out at $7,395 for the 2023-24 school year and the FSEOG awards up to $4,000 annually. Both awards are based on financial need and you’ll need to complete the FAFSA to be considered.

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How to Continue Your Search for Financial Aid

While these scholarships and grants are a starting point, they aren’t your only potential awards. Try to get as much free money as possible so you don’t have to rely too much on student loans—if at all.

You can search award databases like Scholarships.com and Fastweb based on your specific criteria. Many schools offer scholarships and grants at the institutional levels, and state or local governments may also offer funding for adult students. Don’t limit your search based on national awards. In fact, you might find more opportunities with fewer applicants the more you fine-tune your search.

Related: 9 Best Scholarship Websites And Search Engines

It also helps to stay organized during your scholarship hunt. Keep a spreadsheet of all applicable awards, listing out the award name, amount, deadline and standout eligibility requirements. This can help you keep track of which awards you’ve applied to and stay on top of application deadlines.

Applying for award money might be tedious now, but it can be time well-spent if it saves you from unnecessary debt.

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