Whoever said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” obviously hasn’t stepped foot on a college campus in some time. Today, more adults are heading back to the classroom to learn a few ‘new tricks’ for a variety of reasons; some may have been displaced in the workforce or need a degree to move up the corporate ladder. There are also those who have postponed their education due to family obligations or other mitigating factors. Although these non-traditional students may have a few years on their classmates, they do share one thing in common – the desire to graduate with as little student loan debt as possible. A common misconception among adult students is that they are ineligible for financial aid and scholarships. Fortunately, this is not the case. It may seem as though scholarship programs are focused mainly on high school seniors, but there are also hundreds of awards targeted to those who have been around the block a few times. Here are just a few of the many scholarships that are open to non-traditional students.
Maine residents, who were born before 1987 and meet the criteria for being an independent student, are eligible to receive one of three scholarships offered by the Maine Education Services Foundation. Each scholarship is valued at $1,500 and preference is given to those who attend a Maine college or major in a business- or education-related field. Deadline: April 12, 2013.
Male students, 31 years or older, are eligible to apply for this $10,000 scholarship. It is not required that students have children. The provider also offers a similar award for women. Deadline: April 15, 2013.
Minnesota State University offers a $1,500 scholarship each year to any woman, 25 years or older, who has completed at least 30 semester credits at the time of application. The applicant must either be a single parent with custody of her children OR a married woman who is re-entering college after delaying her education for 10 or more years due to raising her family. Deadline: April 25, 2013.
The National Council of Jewish Women (Los Angeles Section) provides a $1,000 scholarship to women who reside in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange or Ventura counties. Applicants must be 35 years or older. Deadline: May 1, 2013.
Non-traditional students, who are at least one quarter American Indian, may be eligible for a $1,500 scholarship from the Association on American Indian Affairs. Applicants must also be ‘displaced homemakers’ and unable to complete their college education at the current time due to family obligations. Deadline: June 3, 2013.
The Albuquerque Community Foundation provides several $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who are 21 years or older. Applicants must work a minimum of 30 hours per week and attend a college in New Mexico. Deadline: June 11, 2013.
Although many scholarships are targeted to undergraduate students, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are only available to graduating high school seniors or traditional students. It’s important that students carefully read all scholarship guidelines to determine if they are eligible for the award; most providers will list a specific age range, or state that the award is only for those who have graduated during a certain time frame, if they wish to limit the availability of the award. Adult students should also seek out creative writing contests and other general scholarships, as these programs tend to be open to a wider selection of students.
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