You're going back to college? Congratulations! Pursuing higher education is a wonderful decision that can lead to significant dividends, and that remains true whether you're pursuing it at age 25 or at age 85. Furthermore, going back to college doesn't have to be as financially draining as you might expect. Returning students can turn to a variety of scholarships that, if won, can help to reduce financial burden and blaze a more affordable path to higher education.
Read on to discover some of the scholarships that were created specifically to help returning students afford higher education.
Awarded by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc. (NANBPWC), applicants can expect to complete a 500-word essay about their own experiences; the 2017 prompt was "Challenges to the Mature Student and How I Overcame Them."
- Requirements: African-American female aged 35 or older, a United States citizen, who is an undergraduate student with a 3.0 GPA or better. The scholarship is dependent upon an essay and application.
- Award: Varies
Designed to help low-income women go back to school, this scholarship from the Jeannette Rankin Foundation looks at the student's goals, their plan for reaching those goals and how they intend to use their education to give back to their community.
- Requirements: Low-income women aged 35 years or older who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and attending an undergraduate institution.
- Award: $2,000, divided over two semesters
Designed for adults facing economic, social or physical challenges, the ASIST Scholarship through Executive Women International can make attending college easier for returning students. Students can expect to explain their life goals and how education can help them attain those goals. The essay can be up to 750 words in length.
- Requirements: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and live within the boundaries of an Executive Women International Chapter. Preference is given to individuals with children in the home.
- Award: $2,000 to $10,000
Those who are going back to school after a long absence in Alabama can look to this scholarship, which specifically provides funding for those who choose to enter a two-year program. This program provides tuition for two years for those aged 60 or older who meet all other requirements.
- Requirements: Must be a resident of Alabama, aged 60 or older, attending a public two-year college in the state. Further requirements can be obtained through the chosen college.
- Award: Tuition at a two-year institution in Alabama
The American Association of University Women offers scholarships through its various chapters for those who are going back to school to further their education. Eligibility requirements vary depending upon the branch and the state. The goal, however, remains the same: To help close the funding gap for women in higher education.
- Requirements: The requirements vary from one branch and state to another; therefore, aspiring students should look into their local AAUW branch for further details.
- Award: Varies widely depending upon branch funding
The Arizona Business and Professional Women's Foundation promotes the advancement of working women; one way it does this is through awarding scholarships to worthy applicants. The annual scholarship focuses on those who are attending community college to either begin a new career path or enhance their current work plans.
- Requirements: Must be female, 21 or older, attending a community college in the state of Arizona. Applications must include letters of recommendation, financial information and a brief bio and career statement.
- Award: Varies
Those who live in Oregon or Siskiyou County, California are eligible for this need-based scholarship. Each year, up to 46 recipients receive this 90 percent "last dollar" scholarship, which pays for up to 90 percent of the costs of education that other funding doesn't cover.
- Requirements: 25 years of age or older, a resident of Oregon or Siskiyou County, California, and must be no more than halfway through their college program. An interview is required.
- Award: 90 percent of unpaid educational expenses, up to $25,000
If a student has been out of school for more than five years and wants to resume their pursuit of an undergraduate degree, this scholarship can provide them with a hefty sum for educational expenses. Students must demonstrate financial need and a commitment to education in order to be eligible for the scholarship.
- Requirements: Out of school for at least five years; must be returning to earn a bachelor's degree and must have financial need. Students must plan to work in the United States after graduation.
- Award: $50,000 awarded for tuition only
Designed for both graduating seniors and returning students, this National Leased Housing Association (NLHA) scholarship is for those who live in low-income housing and want to pursue their education in a trade school or vocational setting. Bill Gandert was a vocal advocate for the poor and was instrumental in creating affordable housing in his home state of Ohio.
- Requirements: Must be a U.S. citizen receiving rental assistance through one of a number of selected government programs, such as Section 8 or Rent Supplement; aspiring applicants should contact the scholarship organization for more details. Must be enrolled full-time in a trade or vocational school.
- Award: Varies
While going back to school can be financially daunting, it can be feasible with the right scholarships, grants and other awards available to those who need them most. In addition to the scholarships listed here, returning students can also find many scholarships on the local and state level, as well as scholarships available through their chosen school. For even more information about scholarships, check out our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships. You can also explore alternatives to scholarships through our Ultimate Guide to Grants and our Ultimate Guide to Loans.