Are there scholarships for older students?

Are there scholarships for older students?

When it comes to pursuing higher education, age should never be a barrier. Whether you’re a recent high school graduate or someone who has been out of school for several years, there are scholarships available for older students. These scholarships recognize the unique challenges and circumstances that older students face and aim to provide financial support to help them achieve their educational goals. In this article, we will explore the various scholarships available for older students, the eligibility criteria, and how to apply for them.

1. Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students

Non-traditional students, often defined as those who are older than the typical college-aged student, have access to a range of scholarships specifically designed for their needs. These scholarships take into account factors such as work experience, family responsibilities, and financial need. Here are some examples:

  • The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund: This scholarship is available to women aged 35 and older who are pursuing a degree or vocational training. The fund provides financial assistance to low-income women who have a vision of how their education will benefit themselves and their community.
  • The Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST) Scholarship: This scholarship is offered by the Executive Women International (EWI) and is available to both men and women who are facing economic, social, or physical challenges and are looking to improve their situation through education.
  • The Imagine America Foundation Adult Skills Education Program (ASEP) Scholarship: This scholarship is specifically for adult learners who are pursuing career education at participating career colleges across the United States.

2. Scholarships for Returning Students

Returning students, those who have taken a break from their education and are now looking to resume their studies, also have access to scholarships tailored to their needs. These scholarships recognize the value of continuing education and aim to support individuals who are returning to school after a significant gap. Here are a few examples:

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  • The Bernard Osher Reentry Scholarship: This scholarship is available to students aged 25 and older who are returning to college after a break of at least five years. The scholarship is offered at select colleges and universities across the United States.
  • The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Adult Students Program: This scholarship is open to students aged 25 and older who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree at an accredited institution. The program aims to support adult learners who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and a commitment to community service.
  • The Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) Program for Continuing Education: This program provides need-based grants to women who are returning to school to complete their education. The grants can be used for tuition, books, transportation, and other educational expenses.

3. Scholarships for Graduate Students

Graduate students who are older and looking to pursue advanced degrees also have access to scholarships specifically designed for them. These scholarships recognize the unique challenges faced by older individuals who are balancing work, family, and their educational pursuits. Here are a few examples:

  • The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Career Development Grants: These grants are available to women who hold a bachelor’s degree and are looking to advance their careers, change careers, or re-enter the workforce through education. The grants can be used for tuition, books, and other educational expenses.
  • The Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award: This scholarship is available to Golden Key Honor Society members who are pursuing a graduate degree. The award recognizes academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement.
  • The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarship Program: This program provides scholarships to students with financial need who are pursuing graduate degrees at accredited institutions. The scholarship covers tuition, fees, books, and living expenses.

4. How to Apply for Scholarships

Now that you are aware of the various scholarships available for older students, it’s important to understand the application process. Here are some steps to help you navigate the scholarship application process:

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  1. Research: Start by researching scholarships that are specifically designed for older students. Look for scholarships that align with your educational goals, interests, and background.
  2. Check Eligibility: Once you have identified potential scholarships, carefully review the eligibility criteria. Make sure you meet all the requirements before proceeding with the application.
  3. Prepare Documents: Gather all the necessary documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. Pay attention to any specific requirements mentioned in the scholarship application.
  4. Submit Applications: Follow the instructions provided by each scholarship program and submit your applications before the deadline. Be sure to proofread your application to avoid any errors or omissions.
  5. Follow Up: After submitting your applications, it’s a good idea to follow up with the scholarship program to ensure that your application has been received and to inquire about the selection timeline.


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Age should never be a barrier to pursuing higher education, and scholarships for older students provide valuable financial support to help individuals achieve their educational goals. Whether you are a non-traditional student, a returning student, or a graduate student, there are scholarships available to meet your needs. By researching and applying for these scholarships, you can overcome financial barriers and embark on a rewarding educational journey. Remember to carefully review the eligibility criteria, gather all the necessary documents, and submit your applications on time. With determination and perseverance, you can secure the financial support you need to pursue your educational dreams.

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