Are There Special Scholarships for Older Adults Going to College?

If you are in search of financial aid that will help you pay to return to school, you may be surprised to learn that there are special scholarships for older adults going to college. In many industries and virtually all service fields, employers are looking for candidates who have a formal college education and a degree. For adults who have been displaced from their job or laid off due to outsourcing, this creates a very serious and life-altering challenge.

The idea of paying for college tuition out-of-pocket sounds impossible and getting loans sounds like more of a trap than assistance. Luckily, adults who are going back to college can apply for special scholarships that pay for some or all of their tuition and book costs. Read on, and learn more about where you can find special opportunities catering to adult college students.

Check For Opportunities with Local Organizations

If you are not sure which school you would like to attend, you can start your search for adult college student scholarships by searching the opportunities available with community foundations and local chapters of organizations. Foundations are created in many different cities and these foundations collect a general application from potential award recipients to match the applicant to the opportunities they are qualified for.

Most foundations have multiple opportunities that are geared to re-entry and non-traditional students. There are also local chapters of national organizations that will promote their opportunities through these foundations when the awards are only available to residents of a specific county. This is the best place to start if you do not want to compete with hundreds of thousands of other students.

Look for Flyers with your Student Affairs Department

If you are already enrolled in school and your financial aid through the Federal government is not enough to cover the costs of attendance, you can apply for aid for future semesters. Most public and private schools have school-specific scholarships that you can apply to in the fall and spring. You can find the qualifications and the award offerings at your Student Affairs or Financial Aid offices. If you need help applying, be sure to sit down with a representative that is there to help you strengthen your essay or your application.

Scour the Web for National Scholarships

The only reason that applying for a national scholarship is the last option is because the competition is so strong. You will be competing with thousands of different adult students who also need help paying for school (please see: How Do I Find Scholarships for College?). There is aid available just for older students, but typically your GPA and SAT scores cannot be used to determine who is the most deserving. You can access a nontraditional database that has listings for several different opportunities and is organized into various search categories. Review all of the eligibility requirements, apply, and submit any documentation that is required.

Whenever you attend college at an accredited school you should first apply for financial aid. After doing this, you may be matched to both grants and scholarships available to you at your school. You can then go further and look specifically for older student scholarships that traditional students who are fresh out of high school do not qualify for. Use the Internet as your primary resource and apply to multiple scholarships for older adults going to college.