Scholarships for Older Students Beyond College-Age
Modern higher education demographics illustrate a noted age shift among college students. The traditional paradigm has students matriculating immediately following high school graduation, but today, more individuals are going to college beyond their teens and early twenties. Most older students fall into two categories: Those who are returning to college after absences, and others who simply get started later in life.
Parenthood alters educational paths for mothers and fathers who leave school for child-rearing and career development. As this group makes its way back into the fold of higher education, targeted scholarships for returning and adult students assist their degree pursuits. In fact, returning students with dependent children; especially mothers, receive the lion’s share of adult student aid.
Consider these examples of age-specific financial assistance, issued by advocacy groups, corporations and individual colleges and universities.
Scholarships for Ages 25+
U.S. women who have reached the age of 25 years and been accepted at accredited American colleges and universities are eligible to compete for Business and Professional Women’s Foundation’s Career Advancement Scholarships. Successful applicants are within two years of completing bachelor’s programs in particular study areas, including science, mathematics, engineering and other tech fields. Application and selection are handled by Legacy Partners, who distribute scholarships to women in their own regions. Legacy Partners also administer their own scholarship programs, so consult your local chapter for additional opportunities. Applicant review includes a need-based component, and most scholarships can be used toward associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate level degrees.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point supports non-traditional students with a stable of unique scholarships, including:
- The Elizabeth Pfiffner Debot Memorial Scholarship The amount of each annual scholarship varies based on funding, but participation always requires applicants to demonstrate financial need. The scholarship is offered to individuals who are 25 or older, and female. Funds are applied to undergraduate tuition and campus expenses, and winners may reapply annually.
- Dick Toser Memorial Alumni Scholarships provide tuition assistance for nontraditional students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Applicants 25 years or older must maintain 3.2 GPA standards and carry at least 9 credits each semester.
Riverview Hospital Auxiliary Non-Traditional Scholarships benefit applicants who are at least 21 years old, and residents of the Port Edwards, Nekoosa, or Wisconsin Rapids school districts. Scholarships are valued at $1000 each, and provide supplemental college financing for students enrolled in health-related programs of study. Financial need and a track record of scholastic excellence are prerequisites for application. Scholarships are applied to degree programs leading to careers in medical fields like nursing, paramedic, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, x-ray technology and medical technology.
The Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) funds the Displaced Homemaker Scholarship for mothers and fathers unable to complete educational degrees timely, due to family commitments and child-rearing responsibilities. Awards can be used for additional expanses, beyond tuition and books. Transportation, child-care costs and even general living expenses are fair game for DHS funds.
AFCEA Scholarship for Working Professionals serves working candidates who attend college part-time. Successful applicants are in their 2nd year of college, or beyond, and attend accredited community colleges and four-year universities.
Miscellaneous Age-Specific Scholarships
Members of Royal Neighbors of America are eligible for educational funding like the New Horizons Scholarship. Ten awards, worth $5,000 each, are distributed annually to non-traditional students who enroll part- or full-time at accredited universities, colleges, vocational schools, or junior colleges. Participants are invited to reapply annually, provided eligibility requirements are maintained.
Another Royal Neighbors of America offering, the Life Enrichment Scholarship, specifically targets non-traditional students earning educational credentials for employment in semi-professional business positions. The scholarships are not designed for students participating in bachelor’s or master’s programs. Five non-renewable scholarships, valued at $5000 each, are issued annually.
Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE) is an advocacy organization for college students operating outside conventional enrollment parameters. The organization funds its own scholarships annually, for the benefit of adult students and members.
Jeannette Rankin Foundation Women’s Education Fund provides educational support for non-traditional female students. Successful applicants exhibit the following characteristics:
- At least 35 years old
- Low income
- U.S. Citizen or eligible permanent resident
- Enrolled at accredited institution of higher learning
Rankin Scholarships are applicable to higher education at technical and vocational schools for associate’s or bachelor’s level degrees.
Corporate benefactors also assist returning and non-traditional adult students. Women who have been away from college for at least five years are eligible to apply for financial awards from the Talbots Women Scholarship Fund. Each year, five $10,000 scholarships and fifty $1,000 scholarships are distributed by Talbot’s, an international women’s clothing company, to support the educational pursuits of non-traditional female college students.
Even Denny’s gets in on the act, financing educational pursuits in a partnership with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Together, the organizations provide the Single-Parent Scholarship Fund, which creates educational opportunities for non-traditional adult students. Scholarships are valued between $500-$1500 each, and require applicants to maintain high academic standards.
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