15 Adult Scholarships for Adults Returning to School

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Can Adults Get Scholarships? 

There are scholarships for adults returning to college after a gap. Adult scholarships may offset the cost of tuition, fees, books. Even childcare.

These awards are for many types of adults. Ones who did not earn a degree. Or, are “independent” per federal financial rules. Some awards help adult learners by funding a two year or four year degree. So, you may have past credits to use. Or none at all.

Others are for adults who want to enter or reenter the workforce. These may help finance a certified trade, professional, or technical program.

Many adult scholarships are for the nontraditional student. Or, an adult who 

  • Is 24 years and over
  • Earned a GED or certificate but not a high school diploma 
  • After high school, delayed going to college 
  • Has family and financial limits  
  • Works full time  
  • Attended college but part time

Most students who apply to college do so after high school. But  7.4 million students age 25 and older pursued a college degree in 2019. Yet adult students often face financial challenges when they return to school. So, taking out a loan is not ideal. Scholarships are grants, so you do not pay the money back. As long as you abide by the terms.

Types of Adult Scholarships 

Any scholarship comes with rules about who can apply. And adult scholarships are the same. Some awards are for adults who are also part of a group. Adult women in STEM, for instance. Or single parents. Others are set aside for specific ages, or stages of study. Like adults ‘over 35’.

Here are a few of these types of adult scholarships. What they award. And, how to apply. 

Federal Financial Aid for Adult Students  

Pell Grants are for undergrads with high need. So, while an adult, you may still qualify. To know if you are eligible, you submit a FAFSA. Or, Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The form is available on Oct 1st for the next school year. It does two things. Figures out your family’s income. And weighs it against the cost of attending your college. Awards amounts change each year. But until June 2020, the max is $6,195.

Reentry Scholarships 

Reentry scholarships aim to help adults who have been out of school for a period of time. And now want to resume or start college. Often, they have an age range. Like between the ages of 25 and 50. Or set a time frame like two or five years. But age is not the only criteria. You often have to show both promise and financial need too.

Scholarships for Single Parents 

Many award givers know how hard being a single mom or parent is. Juggling job, finances, and kids. So, they set scholarships aside. And they often go to those with very high need. One example is Helping Hands for Single Moms. It pays about $270 per month. And renews until you finish your degree.

Top Adult Scholarships for 2020

Here is a sampling of 15 scholarships for adult learners. Check out the criteria and apply before the deadlines.

College Jumpstart Scholarship

College Jumpstart Scholarship is an annual merit award. It pays $1,000 and as a nontraditional student, you can apply. Winners can use the money for any accredited school. So, a two or four year degree. Technical or vocational school.    

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: April 15, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you must be a US citizen. You must also commit to use education to better your life. 

Adult Skills Education Program

Imagine America Foundation offers a national aid program. ASEP, or Adult Skills Education Program. The program is available at about 400 career colleges. It offers a single tuition grant of $1,000. And you can use at partner schools to offset costs of job training.

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

Surety Bonds Small Business Scholarship

Surety Bonds offers a Small Business Scholarship. The award pays $3,000 and you can use it at the college of your choice. 

Amount: $3,000
Deadline: April 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to submit a video. The video should show how a small business made an impact on you. And, how you plan to use that experience in the future.

Jeannette Rankin Scholarship

The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund offers two award programs. Both for adults. Award amounts vary by family income. But you can use the money for technical, vocational, associate or bachelor’s degree programs. One is the Emerge Scholarship. It is for residents of the state of Georgia who are also 25 or older. Another is the Jeannette Rankin Scholarship. This one is for women, 35 years or older who are also low income.

Amount: $2,000
Deadline: February 29
Requirements: To apply, you need to create a user account. You also need to submit transcripts, references, resume, and FAFSA. 

PEO Program for Continuing Education

Each year the PEO Sisterhood offers awards to women. One is the PCE. Or, PEO Program for Continuing Education. The PCE is a need based grant. It pays up to $3,000 and the number of recipients varies. An aim of the PCE program is to help women go back to school. And gain marketable skills.  

Amount: $3,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: You do not need to be a PEO member to apply. But if you are not a member, you must first seek a chapter sponsor. Then you will need to meet award criteria. On the list – show you’ve been a non student for 24 months in a row. 

Osher Reentry Scholarships

Osher Reentry Scholarships are available at partner colleges. They are in 50 states and Washington DC. The awards help adults age 25 to 50 resume a bachelor’s degree. So, many have been out of school for 5 years or more. The number of Osher scholars changes each year. But the awards are renewable. And amounts go up to $50,000.

Amount: up to $50,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: To get an Osher award, you need to show a mix of financial need and promise.  

Executive Women International Scholarship

Founded in 1938, EWI brings women in business together. To do this, EWI partners with colleges and local chapters to offer scholarships. One is the ASIST scholarship for adults in transition. There are 13 such awards and they range from $2,000 to $10,000. Another is the EWISP scholarship for high school seniors. It awards over $2,000 in college aid each year.

Amount: $2,000 – $10,000
Deadline: March 27, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to find a local chapter. Like the one in Tampa, FL and apply. 

Unigo 10K Scholarship

Unigo offers a $10,000 scholarship that adults can apply for. It’s an essay contest. So, you have to imagine that a historical figure is brought to life. Who is it? What is their favorite mobile app?

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: December 31
Requirements: To apply, you need to be a legal resident of the 50 US states or DC. You also need to be currently enrolled (or enroll no later than fall 2025) in an accredited college.

Kazimour Scholarship

The Kazimour Scholarships are merit awards. And, are for nontraditional students. While the number of awards vary, they pay up to $500 each.

Amount: up to $500 each
Deadline: March 9, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to be a be a current, fulltime student in a 4 year accredited college. You also need to be a member of ANTSHE. The Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education.

American Legion Auxiliary Nontraditional Student Scholarship

American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) helps veterans, military and their families. To further this mission, they offer scholarships to members. The Nontraditional Student Scholarship is an annual award. It goes to a single recipient and pays $2,000.

Amount: $2,000
Deadline: March 1, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you may either be pursuing a two or four year degree. Or, training in a certified trade, professional or technical program.

ATHENA Adult Scholarships

The Chamber Foundation helps Hudson Valley residents pay for education. One of their programs is the ATHENA Adult Scholarship. It is an annual award and pays $1,500.

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: April 1, 2020
Requirements: To qualify you need to be both female and live in Dutchess County. You also must be a high school or college grad, out of school for at least 5 years.

Courage to Grow Scholarship

The Courage to Grow Scholarship is a $500 award. It goes to one person each month. And is easy to apply to. 

Amount: $500
Deadline: November 30, 2020
Requirements: To do so, you must explain in 250 words or less why you deserve to win. You also need to be a US citizen. Applicants can be either a junior or senior in high school or college student. But need a GPA of 2.5 or better.

Society for Women Engineers Reentry Scholarship

The Society for Women engineers offers annual awards. One of them is the Reentry / Nontraditional Scholarship. It is for women who have been out of school for two years. And, now want the credential to reenter the workforce as engineers. As long as the program is ABET accredited, you can use the money for studies at any level. So, community college to PhD. Amounts of the awards vary. But in 2019, SWE awarded nearly 260 new and renewed scholarships valued at over $810,000 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

CollegeAmerica Grants

CollegeAmerica is a nonprofit university. They offer a wide range of grants that adults can apply for. One is the Return to Learn Grant. It pays $5,000 towards tuition. And is for adults who have college credits but did not yet earn their degree. The Dependent Student Grant is another. It also pays $5,000. But is for adults who are “independent” as per federal financial rules. There is also one for independent adults who never attended college. The First Time College Grant and is also a $5,000 award. 

Amount: $5,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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1 You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2018/19 school year who were approved when they returned in 2019/20. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2019/20.

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