If you are an adult looking for a way to go back to school, the reality of every day life and the expense of a mortgage and other household bills may be holding you back. Whether you are looking to complete a degree, get one started, or go on for some graduate work, a scholarship or grant may be the only way you can afford to go back to school.
Finding scholarships for adult students is not always easy. Scholarships seem to cater to high school seniors, focusing on high school GPAs and accomplishments. Many scholarships require a student to be enrolled full time in a degree program, but most adult learners find that being part time students is a better option, as this allows them to have time to work and care for their families. Needs based scholarships often don’t apply to adult students who are working full time in a salaried field.
With that being said, adults who want to go back to school can find a scholarship if they know where to look. The first place to go is to your employer. If you work for a large company, you may find that the company has a continuing education program already in place. If you can prove that your pending degree will benefit the company, you may be able to get some help paying for your classes. You may find that the coursework has to be in the same field that the company works in, and you also may find that these scholarships are quite small.
For adult students who know the school they will be attending, the financial aid office can help. Contact the financial aid office to see if they know of any scholarships. You may find that the school has one specifically designed for adult students, or the staff will be able to point you in the right direction.
If you are a part of a professional association, contact them to see if there are any scholarships available. Often these groups will have scholarships that cater to adult students, particularly for women. This is a good option for those looking for postsecondary scholarship opportunities.
Remember, most national scholarship opportunities for adults are not highly publicized. If you have tried all of these venues and still have not found the right scholarship, ask other adult students that you know how they have gotten their degrees. You may find a scholarship you didn’t know existed.