Money Saving 301
July 9, 2021

Back-to-School’s for Adults, Too, Thanks to These Scholarships

When you hear, “back-to-school,” you probably picture children and teens. But couldn’t you be in that picture, too?

Sure, you’ve been out of school a while. Yet, gaining new knowledge and skills in a trade school, junior college or four-year degree program could put you on track for a promotion or a new, more fulfilling career.

So, what’s holding you back? Money, most likely.

But that excuse is being challenged by colleges, nonprofit organizations and businesses that offer scholarships, cash awards and other assistance to help adults like you return to the classroom to realize your dreams.

The following are a dozen examples.

Just keep in mind, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify for financial aid from your school – and in some cases, other financial-need-based scholarships.

1. Colleges Are Encouraging Adult Students

Check directly with colleges and technical schools you’re interested in. Many offer scholarships and financial assistance tailored for nontraditional students – that is, adults who’ve been away from the classroom.

University of Phoenix online, for instance, offers a $1,000 scholarship towards a bachelor’s degree for adult learners with 3 years of work experience.

2. Alpha Sigma Lambda Scholarship

An honor society especially for nontraditional students, Alpha Sigma Lambda awarded 13 $3600 scholarships in 2020 and plans to award 5 $3000 and 15 $2500 scholarships in 2021.  Applicants must be enrolled in an associate’s or bachelor’s program, have completed 24 semester hours with a 3.2 GPA or better, provide a personal statement and be recommended by a professor.

3. College JumpStart Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship is awarded to a nontraditional student who is enrolled in a two- or four-year college or a vocational school or will enroll in the next 12 months. Deadline for this year’s award is October 17, 2021.

4. Executive Women International ASIST Scholarship

The Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST) scholarship is for women and men who want to rise above economic, social or physical challenges. Students apply first through one of local chapters across the U.S. before advancing to consideration for one of various scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

5. FastWeb Scholarships

Fastweb, an online resource that helps students prepare and pay for college, matches students to scholarships and grants they qualify for and offers a list of scholarships for nontraditional and returning students.

6. Soroptimist International’s Live Your Dream Awards

The Live Your Dreams Awards are cash awards to help offset education-related expenses of women who are their family’s primary source of financial support.

Applicants can submit their application between August 1- November 15. A finalist could be awarded up to $16,000 to be used for expenses such as books, childcare, tuition and transportation.

7. Imagine America Adult Tuition Grants

The Imagine America Foundation awards $1,000 tuition grants to nontraditional students already enrolled in an eligible Adult Skills Education Program (ASEP) career school. To be eligible, applicants must complete the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) Student Success Assessment. Learn more about the application process here.

8. Walmart Associate Scholarship

Walmart offers scholarships to associates (employees) enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S.

You don’t work at Walmart? It doesn’t hurt to ask your employer if they assist with education expenses or know of sources in your community that do.

9. Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund

This scholarship is for low-income women, 35 and older, who are enrolled in a technical or vocational, associate’s degree or bachelor’s program. This year, 120 women are receiving scholarships.

10. PEO International Continuing Education Scholarship

Women whose education has been interrupted for at least 24 consecutive months, for whatever reason, may apply for the Continuing Education Scholarship, a $3,000 award. Women are eligible if they are within 24 months of completing their degree.

The award may be used for tuition, books, transportation, child care or course equipment.

11. Apprenticeships and Other Options

Apprenticeship USA, a program of the U.S. Department of Labor, can connect you to available apprenticeships, where you learn skills and a trade while you earn a paycheck.

And if you’ve been laid off from your job, the U.S. Department of Labor may be able to help you find training for in-demand skills and careers.

To find more options, you can search online for “nontraditional student scholarships (or financial aid)” or “adult student scholarships.”