As entire industries shift in response to technology, more people are deciding to go back to school — and that’s where the best scholarships for older students come in handy. With the additional financial support, it’s easier to complete credits faster and return to earning a full-time income. Whether you’re changing industries or looking for an education that advances your career prospects, these scholarships can help streamline the process.
Related resource: Online Degrees for Seniors: Pursue Your Education at Any Age!
1. James and Patricia Sood Scholarship
– Studying education
– Planning to teach after graduation
The James and Patricia Sood Scholarship is given by the daughter of the Soods; she offers the money in honor of her parents, who were both teachers and people living with cancer. This award of $2,500 is given to a student who is seeking a degree in education with the intention of becoming a teacher. Apply by February 11th.
2. Adult Student Grant
– Indiana resident
– U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
– Financially independent with demonstrated financial need
– Enrolled or planning to enroll in a qualifying program
Awarded by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education as part of its You Can. Go Back. Initiative, the Adult Student Grant was created to help older students who are starting or finishing a college degree or certificate. Each recipient gets $2,000 to use toward tuition and fees; winners can renew the award each year. Keep in mind that this grant is given on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s a good idea to apply as early as possible.
3. Return2College Scholarship Program
– U.S. citizen or legal resident
– Starting a higher education program in the next 12 months or currently enrolled
– At least 17 years old
Earn up to $1,000 to apply toward a college education with the Return2College Scholarship program. Given by Return2College, this award is made to help students who are coming back to school after an absence; however, any type of student is eligible to apply. The application is quick and easy and includes a three-sentence essay. Apply by April 30th to be considered.
4. Unigo $10K Scholarship
– Age 13 or older
– Legal resident of the U.S.
– Currently enrolled in an accredited institution
For older students who are interested in history and technology, the Unigo $10K Scholarship is a unique opportunity to earn money for a degree program. To enter, students need to submit a written answer to the organization’s prompt; the winner earns $10,000 to be used to defray college costs. The deadline to apply is December 31st, and the winners are notified by March 31st.
5. Methodist University Senior Citizens Scholarship
– Accepted to Methodist University
– Age 65 or older
For older students who are planning to attend Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the Senior Citizens Scholarship is a low-competition opportunity. This fund provides money to cover tuition fees for people who are 65 or older. The scholarship is intended to fill the gaps left by Pell Grants, in-state aid, and other scholarships, so the amounts vary. To apply, send proof of identity and age to the university’s Office of Financial Aid or Office of Student Accounts.
6. Imagine America Foundation Scholarships for Adults
– Imagine America member
– Adult learner
– Some or no higher education
Receive up to $1,000 to help with the costs of college by applying for the Imagine America Foundation Scholarships for Adults. This program, which was created to support adults who are going back or just starting school, makes it easy to apply. The process includes creating an account with Imagine America and completing the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) Student Success Assessment. Winners also get access to a job board and financial planning assistance. Apply at any time.
7. South Carolina Federal Credit Union Scholarship
- Attending a college or technical college in South Carolina
- Pursuing an undergraduate degree
- GPA of 3.0 or higher
- U.S. resident
Every year, the South Carolina Federal Credit Union gives away $50,000 in scholarships to 12 students. The goal of this program is to support South Carolina students in getting the education they need to contribute to the community and serve others. During the application process, the committee makes their decisions based on an essay and the record of work experience, volunteerism, need, and past academic performance. Applications are due by February 14th.
8. Return to Learning Scholarship
- Resident of Lombard, Villa Park, Oakbrook Terrace, Wheaton, Addison,
- Glendale Heights, or Glen Ellyn, Illinois
- Coming back to higher education after an interruption
- Getting a certificate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree
The Return to Learning Scholarship is administered by the Lombard Area branch of the American Association of University Women. It’s given to a local resident who is returning to undergraduate or graduate school after a significant delay. Applicants will need to submit a letter of reference and any college transcripts in addition to the official application. The amount of the scholarship varies but is usually between $1,300 and $2,500. Apply by April 1st.
9. Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies Senior Citizen Non-Degree Auditor Program
- Older than 65
- Based in the Washington, D.C. area
For older students who want to receive an education but don’t need the degree itself, the Senior Citizen Non-Degree Auditor Program at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies is an excellent option. This program enables people aged 65 and older to audit classes for an extremely reduced fee. All undergraduate level courses are eligible, as long as there is space and the instructor approves. The application process includes registering as a new auditor and choosing courses. The reduced fee is $50 per course, though specific courses may have additional fees. Register online before the semester starts.
10. Re-entry Woman Scholarship
- Lives or attends college in North San Diego County or San Diego
- Completed 20 or more college credits
- High school graduate or GED holder
- Accepted or enrolled at a community college or a four-year institution
- Currently taking courses
- 23 years or older
Given by the Poway Peñasquitos Branch of the American Association of University Women, the Re-entry Woman Scholarship helps three non-traditional female students get an education. Each scholarship totals $2,000. Preference is given to women who have overcome challenges in their life that have caused them to delay school. Applications are due by March 1st.
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11. David R. Woodling Memorial Scholarship
- Legal resident of New Mexico for at least one year
- High school diploma or GED
- Accepted into a Metals Technology program at an accredited institution
Nontraditional students who are planning to pursue a degree in Metals Technology can apply for the David R. Woodling Memorial Scholarship. Administered by The Stocker Foundation, this award offers up to $4,600 to one or two students. Note that the application essay is required to include details about relevant experience in the field or an explanation of why you have chosen the field. Apply for this scholarship by June 4th.
12. Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarship
- Age 35 or older
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Getting a first bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or a technical/vocational program
- Enrolled in an accredited non-profit institution
The Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarship was created to help non-traditional female students get the funds they need to earn a college degree. In particular, it aims to help low-income women improve their lives and their futures through education. Submit applications by February 27th.
13. Hunter College Senior Citizen Auditors Program
- New York resident
- 60 or older
For people who are older than 60, the Senior Citizen Auditors Program at Hunter College is an affordable option. It enables older students to attend classes for free; keep in mind that auditing does not award credit. Expect to submit proof of age and proof of an address in New York. Applications are due by August 10th, January 15th, and July 5th for the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
14. Northern Michigan University Senior Citizen Scholarship
- Age 62 or older
Get tuition for free at Northern Michigan University with the Senior Citizen Scholarship. While this award doesn’t include money for books or fees, it covers the major costs of attending classes at NMU. To qualify, students need to apply for admission to the university.
15. Wallace Community College Selma Senior Citizens Scholarships
- 65 years or older
- Accepted into the Academic or Technical division of Wallace Community College Selma
- Taking credit courses
At Wallace Community College Selma, any student age 65 or older can get free tuition through the Senior Citizens Scholarships program. There’s no application process; qualified candidates are automatically considered when they are accepted into the Technical or Academic divisions. However, it’s important to note that to qualify, students must be pursuing a specific program of study.
16. Western Kentucky University Senior Citizen’s Scholarship
- Kentucky resident
- Age 65 or older
Get free tuition at Western Kentucky University with the Senior Citizen’s Scholarship. This award is available to residents of Kentucky who will be 65 or older by the first day of the semester. The funds can be used for both undergraduate and graduate courses; it covers for-credit work, so students can use the courses toward a degree. Alternatively, students can opt to audit the course. To apply, contact the Billings and Receivables Office before the start of any semester.
17. Senior Adults Scholarship Program
- Alabama resident
- 60 years or older
- Enrolled at Calhoun Community College for credit
- Follow CCC admission standards
The Senior Adults Scholarship Program gives people 60 and older the chance to attend any course for free. This fund covers tuition only; any course or student-body fees are the responsibility of the student. It’s important to check the fees for courses in advance, as lab and material fees can add up. This tuition waiver is available only when there’s space in a course. Apply at any time through the CCC Financial Aid Office.
18. Osher Scholars and Fellows Program
- Education gap of 5 or more years
- Pursuing an undergraduate education
- Demonstrated financial need
Every year, The Bernard Osher Foundation offers the Osher Scholars and Fellows Program to students who are coming back to education after a gap of five or more years. Applicants should be pursuing their first bachelor’s degree and planning to be a part of the workforce for a considerable amount of time after they graduate. Usually, these scholarships go to people between the ages of 25 and 50. To apply for this scholarship, check the list of institutions that offer it; then, apply directly through the university.
19. Maricopa Community Colleges Lifelong Learning
- 65 or older
- Resident of Maricopa County
The Maricopa Community Colleges Lifelong Learning offers a special tuition discount for older students. Anyone who lives in Maricopa County and is at least 65 years old can attend classes at Maricopa Community Colleges for 50% of the normal rate. This program is available at all 10 campuses. Get the discount for any for-credit class with open seats. To apply, simply apply for admission; the waiver is applied automatically when you register. Apply at any time.
20. San Francisco State University ElderCollege Program
- Age 50 or older
Under the ElderCollege Program, anyone over the age of 50 can attend classes for free at San Francisco State University. This program applies to any course that has available spots; applicants also need to get instructor approval. Applications are accepted at any time; be sure to submit an application for ElderCollege before the spring or fall semester starts.
Going back to school is a great way to increase your future earning potential, but it also means that your current income takes a hit. By applying for the best scholarships for older students, it’s possible to reduce education costs and earn a degree in less time.
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