Going to college as an adult can prove stressful. Not only will you be surrounded by classmates who are young enough to be your child, but there’s also the added difficulty of pursuing a degree while worrying about work and parental responsibilities.
Trying to find scholarships for adults and adult students can also add to your anxiety level. A cursory search will turn up endless scholarships intended solely for graduating high school seniors, but the number associated with non-traditional students is far smaller. Mainstream college scholarships may also require the recipient to attend school full-time, something which can be an impediment to adults who are only taking a part-time course load. Financial requirements don’t make things any easier, as many adult students may earn enough money to take them out of the running for scholarships designed to help those of a lower income level.
Things aren’t as hopeless as they might sound, however. Scholarships for adult students do exist; the trick is knowing where to find them. In this article, we’ll provide you with information regarding some of these scholarships, as well as additional places to look to find even more.
Where to Find Scholarships for Adult Students
If you’re an adult who’s considering attending college, you should look into the following options for help with defraying the cost of tuition:
Employers – More and more employers are offering scholarships, with the intention being to help create a more effective workforce. Some of these scholarships might be nothing more than a few hundred dollars, while others can range into the thousands. Just make sure that you’re aware of all the requirements that come with the scholarship, as these can vary a great deal from company to company. In some cases, you might even be required to work for the company for a set number of years after receiving their financial assistance.National Scholarships – These scholarships are offered to qualified candidates across the nation, and some of these are geared towards adult students. You’ll need to meet their qualifications, plus you may be required to write an essay to demonstrate your goals and prior experience.
Universities – Most universities offer their own school-sponsored scholarships, although the majority of these are for students who are just finishing up high school. You can learn more by visiting the financial aid office at the university of your choice.
If you’re a senior citizen, you may also be able to attend college classes for no money at all (although you’ll have to pay for textbooks). You won’t get college credit by auditing a class, but you’ll still have access to a wealth of knowledge. Some of the states that offer such opportunities include: Ohio, North Carolina, New Jersey, Kentucky, Georgia, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Vermont, South Dakota, Washington DC, Minnesota, and Connecticut.
Professional Associations – Members of various professional organization may be able to benefit from scholarships. Check with your individual organization to learn more.
College Money for Adult Students
The following scholarships and financial aid programs are available to adults seeking to obtain a degree from an institute of higher learning:
Royal Neighbors – An insurance group dedicated to providing women with healthcare, financial education, and volunteer opportunities. They offer three different scholarship programs that may be applied for by adults. The first are Life Enrichment Scholarships, with five grants of up to $500 being awarded to those seeking training for semi-professional occupations in business. Must be 18 or older and a high school graduate to qualify.
The New Horizons Scholarships are 10 grants worth up to $5,000. To qualify, you must be a beneficial member planning to become a full or part-time student at a university. Must be 18 and a high school graduate.
The New Horizons Leader Scholarship is an annual grant of up to $5,000 per year for as many as four consecutive years. The winner will be chosen from among the most qualified female applicants.
Executive Women International ASIST Program – Designed for adult students at a transitional phase in their lives, this scholarship is available to displaced workers, single parents, and those just entering the workforce. A minimum of 12 scholarships are awarded each year, with each being worth $2,500. For more information, contact your chapter of Executive Women International.
The Lenice Christine Merrill Eskritt Scholarship – Offered by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, this scholarship is awarded by the Eskritt family to an individual who is over 25 years of age, has dependent children, can demonstrate financial need, and is able to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. The value of the scholarship will cover one semester worth of tuition and fees.
Displaced Homemaker Scholarships – Offered by the Association on American Indian Affairs, this scholarship is awarded in the amount of $1,500 and is intended for men or women whose family responsibilities might otherwise keep them from attending college. $750 per semester is paid directly to the college and can be used for tuition costs, living expenses, or paying for childcare. An essay will need to be submitted to demonstrate your family situation, and you must also meet the following qualifications to be considered a “displaced homemaker”: 35 years of age or older, attending an institute of higher learning for the first time, or attending college again after a long period of absence brought about by the responsibilities of family.
AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program – This scholarship from the American Association of Retired Persons is designed to help low-income women over the age of 50 to receive additional training and achieve financial security. The number of scholarships awarded varies each year due to need, and the amount can range from $500 to $5,000. In 2011, for example, over 350 scholarships were awarded, and more than 800 have been given out since the program started in 2007. You do not need a high school diploma or GED to apply, and you are not required to be a member of the AARP.
Scholarships for adults and adult students make getting a college education cheaper and more worry-free. While applying for a scholarship doesn’t mean that you’ll receive it, the wealth of opportunities provide a fair opportunity for the more motivated applicants. Besides, you’ll never know until you try.
by Shane Rivers